Education and Outreach Officer for the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust, Sharlinda Forrester, is calling on residents to protect the ecosystem along the Montego Bay shoreline by not littering.
Miss Forrester, who was speaking to JIS News following a clean-up exercise at the Old Hospital Beach on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard on Saturday (June 5), lamented that users of the facility continue to litter the approximately 100-metre stretch of beach.
She noted that plastic bags, bottles and other garbage left on the beach, inevitably end up in the ocean, damaging coral reefs and threatening the lives of the marine animals.
Miss Forrester reported that nearly 400 pounds of garbage were collected during the three-hour clean-up exercise, which was undertaken in observance of World Environment Day.
Students from the western campus of the University of Technology (UTech) and a team from Secrets Wild Orchid Hotel, participated in the activity.
Miss Forrest said that the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust was pleased with the support and invited other corporate entities, particularly tourism stakeholders, to join in efforts to save the coastal ecosystem, which includes the mangrove forests.
President of the Circle K International Club of UTech (West), Britley Robinson, told JIS News that the students were happy to play their part.
“If you come to the beach you will see these plastic bottles and bags. So we want to be proactive in protecting our marine life, which includes the fishes and the coral reef,” she said.
She implored beach users to always “make sure you take up a plastic bottle” and properly dispose of garbage in the receptacles provided.
The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust will continue its partnership with the groups in a clean-up and mangrove replanting exercise at the lagoon at the Montego Bay Freeport on June 19.
World Environment Day, which was first observed in 1974, is aimed at raising awareness about threats to the environment and promoting environmental protection.
This year’s theme: ‘Ecosystem Restoration’, focused on preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems and shifting from exploiting to healing nature.