MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, participated in the handing out of over 4,000 motor vehicle litter bags, valued at $500,000, to operators of ground transport and route taxis in Montego Bay, as the Ministry intensified the environmental phase of its Spruce-up Jamaica campaign on Friday July 28.
Addressing participants at the handing over held at the Tourism Centre in Montego Bay, Mr. Bartlett noted that most visitors to Jamaica are from countries that place great emphasis on sanitation and environmental practices.
“Our job is to ensure that we constantly refine the process of creating a better experience for these visitors, and nothing is more important than to ensure that the environment is pristine,” he said.
He advised that Spruce-up Jamaica’s broad mandate is to give a fresh look to the tourism product, and to make participants in the game feel a sense of worth and value. He also expressed the view that the time had come for the programme to influence behavioural, attitude and values within communities.
He said that among the key values that it must seek to instill, is that of a clean environment, and personal pride in keeping the place ‘spick and span’. For this reason, over $100 million were spent last year with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for the maintenance, beautification and cleaning up of the country, including resort areas, he said.
“We believe that we must establish points of excellence and one of these is the Elegant Corridor. We are going to continue, throughout the country, to create these points of excellence, so that we can accentuate the physical beauty of our country,” he said.
He stated young people, across communities in Jamaica, must be made to understand the value of keeping their environment clean.
“We want these bags placed, first of all, in every single taxi or public commuter vehicle, beginning in Montego Bay and then in all the resort areas and, finally, throughout Jamaica,” he disclosed.
“We want to make sure that the country understands that littering is not just an unsightly act, but it is an unhealthy act, and what it does is to create opportunities for vermin and all sorts of undesirable bacteria to proliferate at the expense of the physical health of individuals, as well as communities,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS Reporter