Earth Today | Drowning in rubbish
A RECORD 160,628 pounds of garbage was collected from beaches across the island, including nearly 300,000 plastic beverage bottles, during International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) last year.
This is according to the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), which has revealed, too, that the efforts of volunteers in its Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica Cleanup Network had resulted in 5,431 pounds of garbage being collected, including 15,517 plastic bottles, also in 2017.
"It came as no surprise that plastic bottles were the number one item collected during these clean-up efforts. This is a long-standing trend we have seen over many years," said JET Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Stanley.
"Many Jamaicans believe carelessly discarding their one plastic bottle cannot be a problem. They do not appreciate that every single piece of garbage thrown carelessly in the street or a gully contributes to the ever-increasing scope and scale of Jamaica's solid waste management issues," she added.
ICC Jamaica 2017 marked JET's 10th anniversary as national coordinator and saw 9,675 volunteers from across the island cleaning up approximately 104 miles of coastline.
Under that the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica Cleanup Network, launched last March, 14 groups - including community-based organisations, non-govern-mental organisations, service clubs, and academic institutions - coordinated over 650 volunteers to stage Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica-themed community clean-ups across the island between April and December 2017.
Both ICC Jamaica and Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica activities were funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
"The TEF is pleased to have supported JET on their hugely successful clean-up program-mes in 2017," noted Executive Director Dr Carey Wallace.
"The collaboration and focus of thousands of well-thinking Jamaicans to lend their time, energy and financial resources towards cleaning up our beaches and communities augurs well for the future of this blessed island," the TEF boss added.
ICC Jamaica 2017 also received support from the Yello Media Group, Recycling Partners of Jamaica, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Jamaica Biscuit Company. Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica is one component of the Clean Coasts Project, which also receives funding from the Wisynco Group.
"Over the years, Jamaica's garbage has been transformed by increased use of plastic and other forms of non-biodegradable materials in packaging. As such, we have the responsibility as Jamaicans to transform the way we manage our garbage by reducing the amount of waste we generate, reusing non-biodegradable materials whenever possible, recycling where facilities exist, and most of all by always putting our garbage in a bin," said Stanley.