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Japan promotes clean Jamaica through 4-H trash for cash

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Natsumi Oguchi, JICA volunteer with St Ann 4-H Club, talks about the importance of recycling to the environment at Priory Primary and Infant School, St Ann.
From left: Kenji Tobita, resident representative of JICA in Jamaica; Tedroy Gordon, parish development officer, Jamaica 4-H Club, St Ann; Hyacinth Williams-Cole, a teacher at Priory Primary and Infant School; and Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Jamaica, Hideki Shinozakiand, at Priory Primary and Infant School, St Ann.
Brianna Grant, a student of Priory Primary and Infant School, St Ann, listens to a presentation on recycling.

The enthusiasm that the St Ann 4-H Club has sparked in 11-year-old grade-5 student Brianna Grant, of the Priory Primary and Infant School, is living testament to the potentially far-reaching effects of the club's trash to cash project, which Grant describes as "turn(ing) worthless or discarded material into money".

St Ann's 4-H trash for cash project is a programme supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to promote the idea of converting waste into cash among the youth throughout the parish.

JICA has provided a volunteer from Japan, who is responsible for steering the programme and training students at different schools, demonstrating that environmental and monetary profits exist in waste.

"They show that rubbish is not just for throwing away, but also used for recycling. You use trash, make them into useful things and then you sell them, and I am interested in selling them so Jamaica can be a better place. Yes, I think it is a good thing, because it helps you to be a better person, to be creative and shine," said Grant.

Grant and others from the Priory Primary and Infant School's 4-H Club will challenge other St Ann schools in a trash for cash competition in the parish on March 23.

The Gleaner was part of a press tour organised by JICA visiting the parish recently.

From solid waste, the students created items like letter boxes, rubbish bins and trays.

JICA volunteer, Natsumi Oguchi, emphasised the importance of reducing our rate of garbage disposal and leaning more towards recycling for profit.

"Littering in Japan is illegal. You don't see a lot of garbage in Japan, but in Jamaica, we see a lot of garbage on the road, and I even see a lot of people just throwing (garbage) away. It was really sad!" highlighted Oguchi.

"They don't know why it is bad, so I am teaching them the reason why it is bad. I explain littering and why it is bad, because we are affecting animals; we are killing the birds. They eat plastic or other waste, and then they just die."