Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Children integral to environmental protection - PM

Published:Friday | June 9, 2017 | 6:00 AMSyranno Baines
Azaria Thompson (right) of Jessie Rippoll Primary School presenting a tree to Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the LASCO REAP Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday. Also pictured are Lascelles Chin, founder and executive chairman, LASCO Affiliates Companies; Sharaldeano Dockery (left), from Holland Primary School and Euvia Bennett, Geneva Primary School.

For Jamaica to experience sustainable growth, the practice of protecting the environment for future generations must be embedded in the mindset of children, declared Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

"I have not lost hope in our adults and parents, I believe we can change. However, I'm inclined to spend more efforts on our children because they are not ingrained," stated Holness at the fifth anniversary of the LASCO Relief Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP) Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday.

REAP is geared towards the development of environmentally conscious minds in the nation through wholesome competition.

Incorporating some 120 primary and preparatory schools this year, REAP also seeks to make the next generation aware of measures on how to retard the negative impact on climate change in creative, fun and innovative ways, rather than pursue a doom-and-gloom philosophy

"They (children) are not likely to tell you, 'cho man, a foolishness ya talk, my one bottle can't block the gully.' I'm ashamed to see adults drink their sodas, drink their water and just throw the bottles on the road. Our actions have a direct impact on our environment and our safety and security, especially when it comes to severe weather events; we all must be responsible," said Holness.

"If we can get children to appreciate that they have a responsibility, then they will school their parents and become agents of change in their households. The Government has commissioned an enterprise team to look at waste disposal in Jamaica from a national strategic perspective. We will be looking at the options available for waste energy, so I'm hoping that very soon, we can start a programme of having a total transformation on how we collect and manage waste in Jamaica."

positive environment

In speaking with The Gleaner, founder and programme director of REAP, Stephen Newland, said that he is keen on involving high schools and churches next year to bring about more positive environment results.

"We've surpassed all records and are currently at the highest point. We've collected 750,000 bottles across all schools and planted a record 3,000 trees. The ultimate goal is to have active participation in all schools to the benefit of the communities, students and natural environs," said Newland, a member of the Rootz Underground music group and former LASCO employee.

National Environmental Awareness Week 2017 is being observed during the period June 4-9. World Environment Day was observed on Monday, June 5.

Chief sponsors LASCO Affiliated Group has contributed over $40 million to REAP since its inception in 2012.

AWARDS

1st Place - Fort George Infant and Primary (St Ann) - 10 computers (Courtesy of LASCO REAP).

2nd Place - Bath Primary & Jnr High School (St Thomas) - 40-inch Smart TV (Courtesy of LASCO REAP).

3rd Place - New Forest Infant, Primary and Junior High School (Manchester) - digital projector and screen (courtesy of LASCO REAP).