Jamaicans Urged to Properly Dispose of Waste

Photo: Mark Bell Public Relations Officer at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Deleen Powell, addresses JIS ‘Think Tank’.

Story Highlights

  • The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is urging persons to adopt responsible solid waste management and disposal practices.
  • Manager of the Ecosystem Management Branch at NEPA, Andrea Donaldson, noted that not only is littering unsightly but it affects the land and marine environments.
  • NEPA is inviting persons to participate in the agency’s beach clean-up at Hellshire Bay in St. Catherine on September 17.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is urging persons to adopt responsible solid waste management and disposal practices.

Speaking with JIS News, Public Relations Officer at NEPA, Deleen Powell, noted that many persons are of the perception that it’s okay to just throw garbage on the ground if a bin is not readily available.

She said there is also the view that littering creates work for street cleaners and also provides a source of food for animals.

“We need to tackle these negative perceptions and wrong ideas. Nowadays, 80 to 90 per cent of our garbage is plastic and styrofoam and such things that do not break down,” Miss Powell pointed out.

“We want persons to change the way they think about garbage, change the way they dispose of their garbage, and assume that personal responsibility when it comes on to disposal of garbage,” she added.

Manager of the Ecosystem Management Branch at NEPA, Andrea Donaldson, noted that not only is littering unsightly but it affects the land and marine environments.

“We have found seabirds with plastic caps in their stomach and there are the rubber-back turtles that eat plastic bags believing they are eating jellyfish and they die… so we want to bring to the public the need for proper disposal of your waste,” she said.

She noted further that there are instances when Port Authority has had to stop vessels coming in because of the level of garbage in the harbor. “Anything in the gully goes into the harbour and if that damages a vessel, then that is a cost to Jamaica,” Miss Donaldson pointed out.

She is urging persons to consider composting and recycling as options for managing their waste.

NEPA is inviting persons to participate in the agency’s beach clean-up at Hellshire Bay in St. Catherine on September 17.

The exercise is part of activities to mark International Coastal Clean-Up Day, and will see volunteers removing trash and debris from beaches and waterways all around the world.

Activities in Jamaica are being coordinated by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), with support from several organisations and entities, including the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). More than 100 projects will be undertaken across the island.

NEPA will use the clean-up exercise to sensitise students, corporate Jamaica, communities, the police and civil society groups about the growing problem of improper garbage disposal in Jamaica.

“We do not want people to just come in and clean up the beach on that day and then forget about the issue; we want it to continue year-round,” Miss Powell said.

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