Howard Cooke Primary tops Lasco competition
Montego-Bay based Howard Cooke Primary School were named overall winners of the 2015-2016 Re-leaf Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP) competition at the recent awards ceremony.
The school won special awards for best poem and best essay. St Jago Cathedral Preparatory received the top prize for best visual arts presentation, while St Hugh's Preparatory secured the title for best song. This year, the programme registered 87 primary and preparatory schools.
The programme is geared towards developing environmentally conscious minds in Jamaica through a number of activities that include an environmental talent competition. The hope is to encourage the next generation to become fully aware of how to prevent the negative impact of climate change in a fun and creative way.
"You are privileged to be among those who will lead the charge to halt the damage that we are doing to Mother Earth. We cannot continue living on this planet as if there is another one. This is the one Earth for mankind and it's the single most important issue facing you and me," Lasco chairman Lascelles Chin said.
Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Office of the Prime Minister Daryl Vaz told the students that taking care of the environment greatly depends on their generation. He also endorsed the proper disposal of plastic and styrofoam material.
"I am particularly pleased that this competition seeks to engage our primary school children in activities to take care of the environment. Our young people are the future of our country and our planet, and you have tremendous responsibility to take care of the world that we older folks will leave behind," Vaz said.
"One of the biggest issues we face is in our use and disposal of plastic bags that we commonly call 'scandal bags', as well as the styrofoam containers that our meals come in. They have been a major source of blockage of our drainage system and gullies. During heavy rainfall, they wreak havoc, costing parish councils and central Government much expenditure to clear the drains, and there is loss to business due to flooding."
Since its inception in 2012, the competition has contributed to the removal of over one million plastic bottles from the nation's streets. Approximately 12,500 trees have also been planted islandwide.