Marine Park raps beach users for littering MoBay coastline
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
Outreach and education officer at the Montego Bay Marine Park, Joshua Bailey, is urging beach users across the island to keep the shores garbage-free in order to preserve Jamaica's image as a prime tourist destination.
Bailey was speaking on International Coastal Clean-up Day, following the cleaning of garbage from four sites - Dump-Up Beach, Old Hospital Beach, Freeport main road and Tropical Beach in Montego Bay - by more than 615 volunteers from schools, service clubs, and other organisations.
"It is disheartening that we still have so much garbage to collect along our beaches. What we really hope is that more people would become responsible in how they manage their solid waste. If they go to the beach, carry a little bag and put your garbage in it and take it away with you and put it in a receptacle," Bailey said.
The clean-up exercise resulted in the removal of 6,921 plastic bottles, 4,215 cups and plates, 3,404 plastic bags, 2,345 bottle caps, 1,709 lunch boxes, and 1,399 used condoms, all of which amounted to 5,412 lb.
Bailey said the aim of the annual exercise was not only to relieve the coastlines of marine litter, but also to aid in identifying the type of litter found so programmes can be structured to reduce the amount of marine litter along our coast.
Rosalee Brown, nutritionist and member of the Kiwanis Club of Providence, who participated in the clean-up at the Dump-Up Beach, said while it was important to have a day dedicated to cleaning beaches, it was more important to put measures in place to prevent the mass littering of the beaches.
"It's very important to have an international day once a year, but it is also very important to enable people and the support to put things in place so you can have that sort of implementation throughout the year. So we see missing from this beautiful stretch of beach, receptacles for the garbage," said Brown.
Following the clean-up, the trust hosted its second annual Lionfish Festival at Cornwall Beach, which was supported by volunteers and more than 100 patrons.
The festival featured lionfish sampling, volleyball, beach football and swimming activities.