Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Save planet from plastic plague

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

On Monday, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) released its report for the island's International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) Day activities in 2016. The report summarises the one-day volunteer event that took place on September 17 at 138 sites across Jamaica last year. A record-breaking 109,433.7 pounds of garbage was collected by 9,276 volunteers at the event, including a staggering 225,070 plastic beverage bottles, which topped the list of most common items collected.

Every year, the list of top 10 waste items collected by the ICC volunteers is filled with one-use plastic, and this year is no different. This year's report reaffirms Jamaica's persistent plastic problem, one which only seems to be getting worse. Plastic is non-biodegradable, so not only is the problem persistent, so is the material. Plastic does not naturally break down quickly when thrown away and persists in our environment for many years, often causing problems wherever it ends up.

Other highlights of this year's ICC report are the record volunteer turnout for the 2016 event. Although not attracting the targeted 10,000 volunteers, ICC still managed to break records for the number of Jamaicans who participated in the clean-up.

EDUCATION ON ENVIRONMENT

In its message, main sponsors of the event, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, remarked how effective the ICC initiative has been in helping to educate persons across the island about the importance of proper waste disposal and the role each of us must play in protecting our environment.

One of the ways all Jamaicans can help their environment is by properly managing their garbage, especially non-biodegradable waste like plastic. Reduce, reuse and, where facilities exist, recycle plastic waste. Also, ensure you put any remaining garbage in a bag and place it in a bin for collection. The better we manage our garbage on land, the less will end up on our coasts and in the ocean, where it is significantly harder to clean up.

SUZANNE STANLEY

Deputy Chief Executive Officer,

Jamaica Environment Trust

sstanley.jet@gmail.com