The National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), has partnered with the University of the West Indies Rotaract Club to plant more than 400 trees as part of the Prime Minister’s Three Million Trees initiative.
The trees are being planted on lands adjacent to the Linstead Toll Plaza on the North South Leg of Highway 2000.
In an interview with JIS News at a tree-planting exercise at the location, NROCC Managing Director, Ivan Anderson, explained that NROCC, which has been constructing toll roads for the past 20 years, is aware of its responsibility to replace trees that have been lost in construction.
“We have built more than 100 kilometres of toll roads, and when you build you impact the environment by removing trees, so as part of the project, we gave a commitment to put back trees that were lost and not just put back trees, but plant additional trees over and above those which were taken out as part of the highway construction,” he said.
According to the Managing Director, when NROCC was approached by the UWI Rotaract Club to plant trees, “we thought that this was an ideal opportunity to partner with them, to build on that initiative of planting three million trees in three years”.
“Today, we’re planting over 400 trees. This is just the start of the initiative, with various types of trees, such as poui and different types of pine,” he said.
“We are endeavouring to plant about 50 hectares of area, which is equivalent to what we’re taking out, not just on the highway that we’re building now but also the highway that we plan to build,” Mr. Anderson added, making reference to the Montego Bay Bypass Project.
“The Montego Bay project will also have an impact on trees, so as part of the permit conditions, we are required to plant trees, so this will be part of that initiative as well,” he explained, adding that for the next three or four years, his team will continue to plant trees as they work.
The Managing Director pointed out that there are similar tree-planting commitments for the May Pen to Williamsfield leg of the project, which is currently under way.
“We are required to plant more trees as we impact the trees in areas, such as Clarendon Park, Osbourne Store, Toll Gate and Porus,” he said.
For her part, Vice President of the Rotaract Club of UWI, Mona, Kimona Kinlocke, explained that the leadership team of the Club decided to focus on sustainable development in 2021.
“One of the points that we came up with was trying to help with climate change,” she said, adding that during the month of January, they would be doing some tree- planting and a series of beach clean-ups.
In October 2019, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced an initiative that will see three million trees being planted across the island.
The National Tree Planting Initiative is aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and represents a tree being planted for every Jamaican.