Jamaicans get behind International Coastal Clean-up Day
WHILE ENTITIES like the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) press home the need to solve the pollution problem in the Caribbean, Jamaicans this year threw their weight behind International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) Day.
The effort was led by national coordinator, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), who marshalled some 98 groups to clean 140 beaches across the island on September 17.
All told, an estimated 9,000 Jamaicans volunteered their time and effort, according to information out of JET.
The Ocean Conservancy started ICC Day in 1985. Since then, it has morphed into the largest one-day volunteer event in the world, taking place in more than 100 countries each year.
Last year, Jamaica ranked as having the 14th largest ICC volunteer turnout in the world, and the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean.
This year, the biggest cleanups were coordinated by JET on the Palisadoes Strip in Kingston; by the National Environment and Planning Agency which partnered with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to clean up the Hellshire coastline in St Catherine, and by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust (MBMPT) which partnered with the Rotary Club of Montego Bay to clean the coastline in the western resort city.
Over 2,500 volunteers assisted JET in their flagship clean-up on the Palisadoes, and over 1,000 volunteers attended both the NEPA/UDC and MBMP/Rotary Montego Bay clean-ups.
"We are awaiting the data from the other 140 cleanup sites which we expect to come in over the next few weeks," said JET Deputy CEO Suzanne Stanley.
"The volunteer turnout and effort this year has been exceptional and is truly encouraging," she added.
JET's flagship clean-up on the Palisadoes was sponsored by TEF and Recycling Partners of Jamaica, along with in-kind support from several other corporate sponsors.
JET's clean-up this year included three main sites: the Fort Rocky Beach; End of the Stones revetment and the Port Royal main road in the vicinity of the end of the airport runway.
Initial estimates suggest over 1,000 bags of garbage were removed from those sites, weighing an estimated 16,000 pounds.
Meanwhile, the UNEP CEP, as Secretariat for the Cartagena Convention, continues its efforts to have islands of the wider Caribbean region ratify the Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution.
This is while they work with governments - 12 of whom have already signed the protocol - in a variety of ways to prevent, reduce and/or control marine pollution.