AS-EPA PARTICIPATES IN THE 2019 AMERICAN SAMOA RESILIENCE SUMMIT

AS-EPA Director Faamao Asalele Jr. pictured with some of the summit participants after touring the AS-EPA building, the first of its structure in American Samoa. Touring the AS-EPA and ASPA green buildings was one of the events scheduled on the final day of the summit on Thursday February 7, 2019.

The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources partnered up with several government agencies including the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency to host the American Samoa Resilience Summit. Enhancing Climate Resilience through Community Awareness was the theme for this year’s event. Keynote remarks to officially open the summit was offered by the Director General of Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Mr.Leota Kosimiti Latu. Mr. Latu stressed out that American Samoa is critical to the work of the organization and hopes that the summit will provide fruitful results in building climate resiliency in the territory.

The AS-EPA was invited to present on its specific role in promoting climate resiliency in the territory. AS-EPA Water Division Manager Chistianera Tuitele presented on the best management practices for piggeries in American Samoa. In addition, Tuitele also presented on the various subbranches that she oversees which comprises of the Water Quality Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, the Piggery Compliance Program, and the only US-EPA certified laboratory on island. Manager of the Air & Land Division Ioane Tomanogi also presented at the summit with information concerning the Solid Waste Branch, the Pesticides Branch, and the Hazardous Materials Branch, all of which are subbranches under his supervision. In his presentation, Tomanogi recognized the significant contributions that such branches fulfill in protecting the environment. He added that the agency’s effectuated responsibilities tie to the mission of the AS-EPA, and that is to offer regulatory services to promote clean air, safe and clean drinking water, and land free of pollutants.

Attendees of the Climate Resilience Summit consist of high school and college students, village mayors, members of the community, government departments, and representatives from the SPREP organization. The summit concluded with workshops and tours of two of the three green buildings on island. The AS-EPA was very fortunate to host the summit participants and gave a tour of its green building. AS-EPA Director Faamao Asalele Jr. encouraged the summit participants to be aware of the changes in climate around the world and on island. He added that, “Our focus is on protecting and preserving the environment. The public’s participation in keeping the environment clean is vital to sustainable development in the territory. Our natural surrounding is a gift that we should treasure, and as inhabitants of these lands, it is our responsibility to protect it. This is the mindset of the AS-EPA, and I encourage the community to engage in keeping American Samoa clean and beautiful.”

For more information about the AS-EPA, visit their website at www.epa.as.gov or contact the office at 633-2304.