The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is appealing for more Jamaicans to get onboard its Plastic Container Separation Project.
The project, which was launched as a pilot in May in the Corporate Area communities of Havendale, Whitfield Town and Pines of Karachi, aims to encourage persons to separate their plastic containers from their regular household waste.
The main objectives are to assess the willingness of citizens to separate plastic containers and to have sufficient data to implement an effective national programme by the start of the next financial year.
Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, Executive Director of the NSWMA, Jennifer Edwards, said while the response to the initiative has been good, more persons need to get involved.
"We are aiming for 100 percent participation. That is why we are providing bags for them and we will come and collect the plastic containers from you every other week. The steps are very simple… put all your plastic containers, i.e., butter dish, soda bottles, bleach, whatever plastic you have, put them in the bags provided by the NSWMA and we will collect,” she stated.
Ms. Edwards said the improper disposal of plastics is affecting the environment and all life sources, whether human, aquatic or plants.
"Take a walk down to one of our beach fronts and view where the river or gully exits into the sea. If you want to swim you can’t, neither can the fish because the areas where they would normally breed have been polluted. So we are also reducing our stock of fish, which is food for us to eat,” she lamented.
She noted further that the coral reefs are being damaged and “that has implications for the rise in sea level…you are not only clogging the soil on land, but trees cannot grow as much, as the roots cannot penetrate the soil, resulting in landslides”.
She said the damage impacts the economy of the country as it affects the main income-earning industries of tourism and agriculture.
"Our coral reefs are important to our tourism product and are the mainstay for attractions such as scuba diving, which is the area most affected. Fishing is also impacted, and there is a ripple effect in terms of the livelihood of fishers, as well as persons, who sell fish,” Ms. Edwards said.
By Shevoneese McFarlane, JIS Intern