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  • Minister of Tourism and Environment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says that citizens must be part of the national effort to preserve the natural environment, including the country’s beaches.
  • He noted that while Government continues to give priority to environmental protection, for the initiatives to have a lasting impact, citizens must be activity involved.
  • He bemoaned the fact that the beaches continue to be inundated by garbage, especially plastic and other non-degradable or slow degradable material.

Minister of Tourism and Environment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says that citizens must be part of the national effort to preserve the natural environment, including the country’s beaches.

He noted that while Government continues to give priority to environmental protection, for the initiatives to have a lasting impact, citizens must be activity involved.

Minister McNeill was speaking to JIS News on Saturday, September 20, after participating in the Jamaica Environmental Trust’s (JET)/International Coastal Clean-up Day at Fort Rocky beach along the Palisadoes Strip in Kingston.

He bemoaned the fact that the beaches continue to be inundated by garbage, especially plastic and other non-degradable or slow degradable material.

“It’s amazing how quickly I was able to fill the first bag. There was a chair, gearstick, parts of a car, shoes and plastic bottles galore. What it says to us is we have a serious problem. Every year we come, we clean it up, and it piles up (again].  This is not garbage that washes out in our gullies and rivers out to the sea and then the tide brings it back in on the beach,” he pointed out.

He noted that garbage on the beaches affects the ocean floor, destroying the coral reefs.

“We all want to go and swim and enjoy the beaches and have something for our children. When you destroy the coral reefs what happens? We all have that responsibility and if we can get that message out in a more fulsome way, then we may just accomplish more,” he told JIS News.

Minister McNeill commended JET for organising a successful Coastal Clean-up Day, and supporting entities such as National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and the various groups, corporate entities  and communities that took part.

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