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JIS News

Acting Botanist with the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, Keron Campbell, has called on Jamaicans to treat the environment with respect, and to preserve and protect it, as that is the source of sustenance.
“The environment is what makes Jamaica beautiful, it is what most of our tourism is based on. The environment is where everything comes from, wood, food, water, everything. If you cut down the trees, the rivers will dry up. If you pollute the rivers and the coast, the coral reefs will feel it, and you won’t have fishes. Just be respectful, everything has a niche in the system; be respectful of your position in the system, and treat everything with respect,” he implored.
Mr. Campbell, who conducted a recent tour of the Mason River Protected Area and Bird Sanctuary, in Clarendon, said that the area, which is believed to hold the only inland bog, was discovered in 1956 by scientists from the University of the West Indies. Over 400 species of plants, some of them indigenous, can be found on the property. These include three varieties of insect-eating plants, some 20 species of ferns, mosses, algae, pine trees, aquatic plants, and flowering and non-flowering plants. The property is also a sanctuary for over 30 species of birds.
He emphasised that every effort must be made to protect this area, as it serves several important purposes.
“Mason River serves as a watershed, it drains to the south and it drains to the north. The springs that are on the periphery of the area actually provide water for persons in the community. So, if we were to start polluting and destroying this wetland area, the springs would dry up, and there is no piped water in Douglas Castle, so it is important in terms of feeding rivers to the south and to the north. It is also important to the uniqueness of the bog, which is 2,300 feet above sea level, and is perhaps the only inland bog,” he informed.
Mr. Campbell told JIS News that Jamaicans should have no real difficulty in practising environmentally-friendly habits, once they are made aware of the need to protect the environment, as it is simply a matter of having pride in oneself and the surroundings.
He pointed out that several programmes have been embarked on, to sensitise Jamaicans as to how certain actions would negatively affect the environment, and how, in their individual ways, they could seek to preserve and protect that which occurs naturally.
Student of the University of Technology (UTech), Nikesha Lindsay, who is currently studying Urban Planning, found the tour beneficial, and is of the view that more should be done, as “there needs to be wider appreciation for these conservatives, restricted areas, these wetlands, as there are not a lot of persons who know about it. I have learnt a lot, and I believe there should be other ventures that make it known to the public.”