Hundreds of junk cars to be hauled off | Guam News
With limited land, no property confiscated, and poor enforcement, Guam continues to struggle to get rid of vehicles that no one wants anymore, Mayors said.
Residents pay into the Recycling Revolving Fund when they register their vehicles annually. However, this is only a tiny fraction of the minimum of $ 400 needed to transport and recycle every abandoned vehicle.
There are thousands of these vehicles annually, Mayors said. But only hundreds of them can be removed each year with limited resources.
Mayors expect to receive the first $ 500,000 from the Recycling Revolving Fund before the end of January to remove and recycle abandoned vehicles and used tires.
Each of the 19 villages can use orders to remove 40 to 100 abandoned vehicles as needed, Angel Sablan, executive director of Guam’s council of mayors, said Friday.
For larger villages like Dededo, Yigo, Barrigada and Mangilao, the volume of abandoned vehicles will far exceed the funds available for their recycling, the mayors said.
“We are working to get the orders into the mayors’ offices by the end of the month,” said Jesse Alig, president of MCOG, who is also the mayor of Piti. “We appreciate the support of the governor and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency in carrying out this project to keep our island clean.”
“You just drop it”
It’s an all-too-familiar story of how old vehicles end up on the side of the road, in the jungle, or in people’s yards, said Frankie Salas, Mayor of Asan-Maina.
“As soon as they’re tired of it, they just drive it by the side of the road,” said Salas. “If you can no longer afford to pay for it, just give it up.”
People try to scrape off the vehicle identification number when they drop their old vehicle so it doesn’t get traced back to them, Mayor Salas said.
“But then they forgot that there were other parts of the car that had their chassis number on them,” he said.
Even if the VIN is intact, government agencies like the Guam Police Department or the Department of Revenue and Taxation won’t necessarily devote the time to tracking down people who leave their cars, Salas said.
Some mayors said those who make money cannibalizing cars and then disposing of them for the government to transport and clean up should receive fees, if not fines.
Those who have multiple abandoned vehicles each year should be charged after the first or second vehicle, Mayors said.
“We will never catch up because cars are used until they can no longer be used,” said Robert Hofmann, Mayor of Sinajana. “Everyone should be able to call an agency number and have a vehicle removed and disposed of on a regular basis, as the funding source is earmarked and paid up.”
Hofmann, who is also MCOG vice president, said this should be an on-demand service.
Using more government money to get rid of thousands of abandoned vehicles seems like the easiest solution, but that also means drawing funds from basic services like public health, safety and education, Mayors said.
There are 40 to 50 abandoned cars in Sinajana that Hofmann hopes will be removed in this recycling fund cycle, along with more than 100 tires.
“It’s a never-ending problem,” said Yona Mayor Bill Quenga. “But sometimes people need auto parts to remove from old vehicles. I get that.”
Quenga said it was difficult to address the abandoned car issue and that he hoped residents would work with mayors, deputy mayors and their staff.
Mangilao Mayor Allan Ungacta said that every time an abandoned vehicle is removed, two take its place.
People leave their vehicles on the side of the road, which is a safety risk.
Some even dig up vehicles near school bus stops, so the mayor of Mangilao has to pick them up to protect the children and drivers.
“People should be charged with randomly parking cars on the side of the road. The chassis numbers are still there most of the time to track them down,” he said.
There are currently nearly 200 abandoned and junk vehicles and more than 60 used tires in Mangilao, he said.
Only a fraction of them can be removed with the incoming orders, he said.
Like other mayors, Ungacta fears residents will park their vehicles in public areas so that the government can pick them up when people find out the recycling materials are being released.
There are only so many vehicles abandoned compared to the resources available to remove them, he said.
In Piti, residents should soon be able to ask the mayor to add their old vehicles to the list of those that will be removed when orders come in.
$ 1.3 million this year
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed a memorandum of agreement between the Guam Mayor’s Council and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to launch the mayor’s island-wide environmental clean-up program for fiscal year 2021.
Up to $ 1.3 million will be allocated to the program, and the Guam EPA Board approved the initial release of $ 500,000.
The Department of Administration is still uploading the $ 500,000 into the system before orders can be released to mayors, MCOG’s Sablan said.
This time, mayors have more time to use the orders for vehicle removal. You have until September 30th to use them, unlike last year when they only had weeks to complete the tasks.
However, the Guam EPA also requires that mayors or their employees, as well as abandoned vehicle shippers and recyclers, provide guidance on how to use the recycling fund before an order can be approved.
Sablan said the orientation for mayors and staff took place on Thursday, while that for sellers would be on Tuesday.