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Story Highlights

  • Some 1,000 volunteers are expected to participate in the National Environment & Planning Agency’s (NEPA) beach clean-up exercise at Half Moon Bay in Hellshire, St. Catherine, as part of activities for International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICCD) on September 17.
  • NEPA’s clean-up exercise is one of the more than 100 projects registered islandwide for the day.
  • The communities will be given garbage bags, gloves and other tools necessary for their clean-up projects.

Some 1,000 volunteers are expected to participate in the National Environment & Planning Agency’s (NEPA) beach clean-up exercise at Half Moon Bay in Hellshire, St. Catherine, as part of activities for International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICCD) on September 17.

International Coastal Clean-Up Day is a global event initiated by Ocean Conservancy (OC) in 1986. Its aim is to engage citizens to remove trash and debris from beaches and waterways all around the world, identify the sources of debris, and change the behavioural patterns that contribute to pollution.

NEPA’s clean-up exercise is one of the more than 100 projects registered islandwide for the day. The overall activities are being coordinated by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), with support from several organisations and entities, including the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Addressing a JIS Think Tank session, Manager of the Ecosystem Management Branch at NEPA, Andrea Donaldson, informed that the clean-up day is to highlight the issue of improper disposal of solid waste and to indicate that marine litter is a serious problem around the world and in Jamaica, and not only affects the beaches but also the birds and marine animals that use the ocean.

“We have found seabirds with plastic caps in their stomach and there are the rubber-back turtles that eat plastic bags believing they are eating jellyfish and they die… so we want to bring to the public the need for proper disposal of your waste,” Miss Donaldson highlighted.

She said that NEPA will be launching the ‘Adopt a Beach Programme’ on ICCD as a means of increasing the public’s awareness and responsibility on the issue of marine litter.

She added that the programme will allow groups, communities and individuals to select and clean up beaches on a monthly or quarterly basis as a means of maintaining the areas throughout the year and minimising marine litter.

The communities will be given garbage bags, gloves and other tools necessary for their clean-up projects.

Elaborating further on NEPA’s ICCD activities, Public Relations Officer, Deleen Powell, noted that the annual clean-up exercise is one of the agency’s main public-education thrusts, as the team uses the day to talk to students, corporate Jamaica, community, police and various civil society groups, about the growing problem of garbage and waste disposal in Jamaica.

“We do not want people to just come in and clean up the beach on that day and then forget about the issue but we want it to continue year-round… so we talk to persons about the way that they can generate waste in their daily activities and try to get them to avoid those kinds of practice,” Miss Powell outlined.

“We want persons to change the way they think about garbage, change the way they dispose of their garbage, and assume that personal responsibility when it comes on to disposal of garbage,” she noted further.

Miss Powell noted that the 2015 beach clean-up exercise at the same location saw some 1,000 persons volunteering, with approximately 5,000kg of waste collected over about an 800-metre stretch of the beach.

JET has informed that 7,895 volunteers participated in last year’s islandwide clean-up, which saw the removal of 79,560lb (36,087.8kg) of solid waste from 122 miles of coastline.

Persons wishing to participate in International Coastal Clean-Up Day can visit JET’s website at www.jamentrust.org to register.  They can also access information on the entire list of activities, their locations, and the organisers of the events.