Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Western parishes urged to make 2018 cleaner

Published:Friday | January 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

Garnet Edmondson, regional operations manager at Western Parks and Markets (WPM), is appealing to residents of the four parishes served by the agency to start the year right by doing their best to ensure a cleaner, healthier, and more economically vibrant Jamaica.

In a half-page advertisement published on Wednesday, the WPM admitted that the past year had not been without challenges and that 2018 would bring its own. It then goes on to acknowledge that it was through partnership and collaboration with the citizenry of western Jamaica, as well as other stakeholders, that many of its milestones were achieved.

However, much more needs to be done to build on these gains, a situation the advertisement addresses as follows: "We have noticed over the past year where citizens continue to litter our green spaces, Elegant Corridor, and major thoroughfares. We want to use this medium to appeal for a renewed partnership, where all citizens within the WPM (Trelawny, St James, Hanover & Westmoreland) will take personal responsibility for bagging, storing, and properly disposing of their solid waste."

 

CULTURE CHANGE NEEDED

 

Even with the best intentions, the National Solid Waste Management Authority will never be able to police the country in terms of stopping people from throwing garbage anywhere they please, Edmondson admitted, hence the need for Jamaicans to exercise more personal as well as civic pride.

"Residents in these four parishes must understand that between Trelawny and Westmoreland, we are really the tourism Mecca. When you look at the stats, we boast the highest tourism revenue. Persons come to our country to see the beauty of Jamaica - land of wood and water. Now, how we manage our green spaces is key to ensuring that the aesthetics of these areas, as well as our health, are not threatened by the indiscriminate and wanton disposal of garbage," he told The Gleaner.

"If we believe that the economy is largely driven by tourism, we must protect that, and for personal health standards and benefits, we must safeguard against the spread of rodents. Whenever we throw garbage around, if left uncollected, it can lead to a build-up of rodents. and sooner or later we can't control them," the WPM executive warned.

Put 'scandal bags' to good use, WPM head tells drivers

 

The abundance of 'scandal bags' does provide an opportunity, a resource, that operators of public and private motor vehicles can put to good second use, according to Garnet Edmondson.

"I appeal to the taxi drivers, store the bags and use one per day to put over the gear lever. That's what I do. When passengers come in your taxi, they have something to throw their garbage right inside there, and when you reach the bus parks, you will always have receptacles to throw it in. There would then be a personal responsibility on that taxi operator, a personal responsibility on commuters not to throw the garbage through the window, [and] a personal responsibility on private owners who drive vehicles."

On the question of garbage receptacles, Edmondson said that the shortfall was being addressed with the recent donation of 400 of these by the Tourism Product Development Company for installation throughout the four parishes.

In addition, the WPM is to embark on a public-awareness campaign in basic, primary, and junior-high schools to get children to understand the implications of improper disposal of solid waste, as well the benefits of properly bagging, storing, and disposing of it.