JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of persons turned out on September 19 to clean up the Hellshire Bay beach in St. Catherine, organised by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
  • Held to observe International Coastal Clean Up Day, the activity began early in the morning with volunteers clearing debris from the public beach.
  • Director for Environmental Management and Conservation at NEPA, Anthony McKenzie, told JIS News that he felt inspired at the outpouring of participants.

Hundreds of persons turned out on September 19 to clean up the Hellshire Bay  beach in  St. Catherine, organised by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

Held to observe International Coastal Clean Up  Day,  the activity began  early in the morning with volunteers clearing  debris  from the public beach.

Director for Environmental Management and Conservation at NEPA, Anthony McKenzie, told JIS News that he felt inspired at the outpouring of participants.

“It tells us at NEPA that the word is getting around, the connection is being made between what we do and the need to protect our coastlines, especially our beaches. With the youngsters getting the message and willing to do something about it means our future looks positive,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie noted that a strong message has to be sent to the communities about disposal habits, as garbage thrown in gullies  end up in the sea, threatening marine life.

“We have to take personal responsibility. We create garbage from our homes so we have to manage what we create, ensuring that it is properly packaged, collected and disposed. If we take responsibility for our personal space, that will transcend across our communities and the country, so it’s all about personal responsibility,” he said.

Acting Mayor of the Portmore Municipality and Councillor for the Hellshire Division, Leon Palmer, who also participated in the exercise, said the participation of so many  persons, even those from other parts of St. Catherine and even Kingston, was heartening.

 

“We have to educate the public about recycling and how to better control the things that they dispose of. Some of the things picked up like old toilet seats, PET bottles, old tyres and other material should not be on the beach, so education has to be the way forward,” he told JIS News.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for South St. Catherine, Mr. Fitz Jackson, said he was more than satisfied with the turn-out and that perhaps it was the largest he had seen over the years.

He emphasised that the beach clean-up was significant, as it served not just  Portmore residents, but also Kingston and the wider St. Catherine.