Members of the public are being invited to adopt a beach in commemoration of International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD) on September 19, as national beach clean-up activities have been postponed.
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says it will not be hosting a beach clean-up on ICCD this year, as it is heeding the advisory issued by the ICCD National Coordinator, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), which has postponed its ICCD activities in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Unfortunately, we will not be hosting an actual beach clean-up where we have the volunteers removing trash from the beach, and this is in keeping with the advisory from the National Coordinator. So, because of that, we have taken the decision to not host an actual clean-up, but to do a week of virtual activities which we have been focusing on,” Beaches Coordinator at NEPA, Chalene Roye-Myrie, told JIS News.
“The week of activities include webinars, virtual displays, and flyers for social media. Persons can tune in to our social media pages to keep abreast with what we are doing for the virtual week of activities,” she added.
While persons interested in participating in a national beach clean-up will have to wait on JET’s announcement of new dates for coastal clean-ups, others who would like to do small group beach clean-ups on the day can do so through NEPA’s ‘Adopt-a-Beach’ Programme.
“The ‘Adopt-a-Beach’ Programme is simply an extension of International Coastal Cleanup Day, where instead of focusing on one particular day out of the year to conduct beach clean-ups, it is right throughout the year. We are targeting groups such as community groups, service clubs, schools, corporate companies and groups of three or more. Persons have to be over the age of 18 to register for this programme,” explained the Beaches Coordinator.
Applications can be accessed on NEPA’s website at www.nepa.gov.jm and submitted there or physically to the agency.
Mrs. Roye-Myrie said that a list of beaches is also available on the website, but persons may contact NEPA for more suggestions and help in selecting a location to adopt. She explained that once a beach has been adopted, the requirements are straightforward.
“You are required to conduct clean-ups at least twice per year and on ICCD, which makes it three times per year.
You are able to adopt any beach or section of the coastline that needs cleaning. There is no time limit for how long you can adopt a beach. While two groups can adopt one section of a beach, we do advise that when you complete your application, you tell us what dates you’ll have the clean-up, so there are no clashes,” she said.
As an incentive, each group that adopts a beach receives a starter kit of garbage bags, insect repellants, hand sanitisers and gloves that can serve up to 50 persons.
The Beaches Coordinator advises that small community groups who wish to do beach clean-ups independent of JET and NEPA this Saturday (September 19) must ensure that they adhere to the gathering and social-distancing protocol set out by the Ministry of Health & Wellness.