The Government has started its islandwide 12-month clean-up programme, with focus on Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence.
Being implemented under the theme: ‘Keep Jamaica Clean – Jamaica 50’, the programme pools the efforts of an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, and involves a number of ministries, departments, and agencies.
These include: the Ministry of Health (MoH); Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Ministry of Local Government and Community Development; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment; the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA); the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Giving an update on the plans and activities of the Committee, at the Jamaica House press briefing on May 9, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Falconer informed that the programme began in April, and will end in March 2013.
The programme is being undertaken in three phases. So far, an extensive rodent control programme has been rolled out, beginning in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, where the problem is most prevalent. Other parish capitals and main townships will also benefit from the baiting programme.
Critical to the success of the programme is the public education component, which will begin with a three-month intensive media publication campaign across the island, with an emphasis on community education.
“The focus will be community education, and this will be in the areas where sanitation activities are taking place in Kingston, St. Andrew and other townships. There will be a subsequent eight-week period of media campaign (September to November). We expect that this will cost about $43.7 million, and we will get some assistance for this from the CHASE Fund. The JIS has commenced airing a public service announcement with the theme ‘Keep Jamaica Clean’ (which) was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health,” Senator Falconer explained.
She said the committee is also hoping to develop special messages for target audiences, including: householders, school children, food establishments and other institutions. All ministries and departments and agencies will be required to carry the ‘Keep Jamaica Clean, Jamaica 50’ messages on their website.
“We hope that through this, in particular the clean-up, baiting and community education programme, we will get our towns, communities, cities to a state where they are healthy, and where people can live in an environment that is clean and free from rodents and other things which can create a problem for the health care community,” the Minister added.
She noted also that the committee has asked the Ministry of Finance and Planning to review requests for Boards of Survey, with a view to taking the necessary steps to shorten the waiting time to facilitate the disposal of large quantities of items that are now stored at ministries, agencies, and departments. “The pile-up of old equipment, furniture and other supplies is providing a shelter for rodents and vectors,” Senator Falconer pointed out.
Three groups have been formed within the committee for effective implementation. The communications group will develop a revised draft of the public education programme, to include a budget to continue material and message development. This group is chaired by the JIS, with members from the MoH, and the NSWMA.
The technical group is responsible for developing technical information packages to guide the development of materials and messages for the public education progamme and rodent control programme. This group includes: the MoH; and the Food Storage Division of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and is co-chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, and NEPA.
Meanwhile, the implementation group’s task is to identify the locations for implementation of the programme, and to recommend the priorities.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter