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NEPA's CoastalClean-up Day to promote better enviro practices

Published:Monday | September 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM
In this 2009 file photo, Otis Johnson carries bags of garbage removed from the beach during National Environment and Protection Agency's International Coastal Clean-up Day at the Half Moon Bay beach in Hellshire, Portmore, St Catherine.-File

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Anthony McKenzie, director of environmental management and con-servation at the National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA), is hoping that this year's International Coastal Clean-up Day will create an avenue through which persons can become more aware of proper environment practices.

International Coastal Clean-up Day will be observed on September 20, and NEPA will be concentrating significant efforts at the Hellshire Beach in Portmore, St Catherine.

"A lot of our beaches suffer from erosion and Hellshire is one of them, and this is mostly due to improper practices by persons," McKenzie told The Gleaner.

"Erosion is one of the things that certainly, in the last year or more, continues to affect us. There are areas at that site (Hellshire) that has had serious problems with discharge from agricultural activities. A lot of persons are building on the beach among other practices, which, in turn, affects the health of the reefs and that leads to deterioration," McKenzie added.

He told The Gleaner that the aim of this year's clean-up activities is to engage the community and the wider public in demonstrating the interaction between the human elements and their environment. McKenzie also said that it is imperative that youths play their role in promoting proper environmental practices.

"The focus will be on students and, by extension, young people. I think that instilling these values in youths will go a long way in saving our surroundings," he said.

"In general, we are seeing an increased interest among the youth population. From where we sit, we have tried to influence the school curriculum in a specific way by introducing environmental courses in our schools, and we are reaping the fruits of that," he said.

"Pollution is a huge factor that results in damages to our environment, and so this clean-up will be one of the many ways through which we plan to sensitise citizens about the importance of a clean environment. It's a process, but it can be done," McKenzie said.