Environmental association to receive US$10,000 to plant trees
ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary:
THE TOWN of Annotto Bay, St Mary, has suffered a lot from bad environmental practices.
However, with the help of the ACDI/VOCA, a non-profit organisation, the Annotto Bay Community Development and Environment Association will receive US$10,000, which they will use to replant 3,000 trees.
Ruel Francis, president of the association who was speaking with Rural Xpress following a tour of the town last week, said with the continuous changes in climate, it is imperative that measures are taken to promote good environmental practices.
He pointed to the communities of Broadgate through to the Junction that have been severely damaged and said it will take ongoing work to change the culture that exists.
"There are sections in the town that, especially since the recent drought spell, have suffered from a lot of bush fires. There are quite a few bare areas that are badly damaged, and if it continues, we are in serious problems and we are already very vulnerable," Francis told Rural Xpress.
"One of the things we will be focusing on also, apart from the issue of climate change, is seeing how this exercise can generate income and so we will be looking at breadfruit," he said.
"We are currently looking at the sustainability of that market as it relates to export, as well as to support our local people and at the same time joining in the fight to promote climate change," Francis said.
He also said they have been ramping up their climate change public awareness programme to ensure that all citizens become a part of the change.
"I will admit that we have a problem with the persons in the town. They have not fully grasped the seriousness of bad environmental practices and so we started a campaign in May of last year so as to get them aware," he said.
"There are some areas with a lot of brimstone and so when it gets very hot, it catches fire. People smoke cigarettes or spliff (ganja) and they throw away the little that is left and a fire starts. There are others who are idle and some who clear the land for farming, so its ongoing work," he told Rural Xpress.
We are hoping that after our final meeting this evening (last week Thursday), we will start immediately because since we are getting some rain now I believe it's ideal to start planting. Climate change is upon us and we have to find a way to survive. We have to prepare for the worst," he declared.