Alaskan Community Removes Recyclable Waste

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

NOME, Alaska (AP) - Residents of a remote Alaska community very near Russia found a unique way to get some recyclable waste off-island.

They asked the Coast Guard to transport it.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter SPAR made a stop at the island during a survey of the Chukchi Sea, and officials with the Native Village of Diomede asked if they could take some accumulated electronic waste with them, KNOM reported ( ).

It included "quite a few boxes of electronic waste_monitors, DVD players, stereos_that kind of stuff," said SPAR commanding officer Doug Jannusch. "We were able to take about 200 pounds worth and the six batteries."

The community of Diomede is located on the western coast of Little Diomede Island, in the Bering Strait. The community of 119 people is located about 650 miles northwest of Anchorage, and only about 3 miles from Big Diomede Island, Russia.

Officials typically ship recyclable waste off Little Diomede by air or barge to the Kawerak Regional Backhaul Program in Nome. The center collects recyclables from throughout the western Alaska region and ships it to Seattle.

Opik Ahkinga is the village's environmental coordinator and has been working for four years to improve waste management on Little Diomede Island.

She is now focusing on electronic waste, and said batteries and transformers that have been sitting on the island for years could harm the environment. Ahkinga encouraged residents to continue dropping off their electronic waste.

She is working on an environmental program plan for the island after getting a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

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