Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Earth Today | Institute of Jamaica launches Earth Day competition

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
We are assisted in our compulsion by the manufacturing and commercial sector who market their products in cheap, non-biodegradable packaging; backed up by public authorities which do not implement a mechanism like a deposit-refund system which would provide an incentive to the public to turn in empty plastic bottles; and ensure that industrialists and retailers do their duty to reduce solid waste.

YOUTHS AGED 12 to 19 have a shot at winning cash, scholarships, and a variety of other prizes with the launch of the Institute of Jamaica's 'Trash to Cash' Earth Day 2018 competition.

The categories are: literary, photo, poster, and design model, with sub-themes including:

- 'Let's cultivate green behaviour; let's recycle';

- 'Be the solution to Jamaica's pollution';

- 'Reuse the past, recycle the present, save the future; and

- 'Tun yuh han mek fashion'.

"Imagine Jamaica without the serious issues of waste and pollution. Our island would be a greener and healthier place! Our activities today are polluting our beautiful country and are making living increasingly difficult for future generations," the Institute said.

"It is important to educate our youth about the harmful effects of pollution. Through this competition, we endeavour to create a platform for them to creatively conceptualise a solution for our waste. How we dispose of our waste contaminates our environment with unwanted substances and affects us in many ways," the entity added.

A part of the solution rests with getting people to think differently about waste.

"Stopping pollution is necessary for Jamaica's survival. Turning our trash into cash changes the way we think of recycling. This mode of thinking challenges us to formulate ideas, businesses, and projects that are innovations for economic gain. If we can view alternative ways to use our waste in a sustainable manner, we could move closer to a greener Jamaica," the Institute noted.

Meanwhile, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Goals are guiding principles that must be used as a reference in designing entries. They include:

- Sustainable management and use of the environmental and natural resources;

- Life below water;

- Life on land; and

- Clean water and sanitation.

"Entries will be judged on the premise that ample research has gone into what is produced. It is hoped that our nation's youth can become a voice of change through their creative and expressive ideas on our aim towards Jamaica having a healthy natural environment. Let's upcycle!" the Institute said.

Entries must be submitted to the IOJ by Friday, March 9.

This year's Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) is being celebrated under the theme 'End Plastic Pollution'. According to Earth Day Network, this year's focus is critical.

"From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet," the network said via its website.

"In response, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics," it added.

Some identified options for this Earth Day include ending plastic pollution "for yourself and your loved ones"; "in your community, organisation or workplace"; and/or "in your classroom".