The Editor, Sir:
Two months ago, I visited a marine lab in St Ann for a field study in marine environment.
One of the observations, as we walked along the shore, was the disgusting and enormous amount of solid waste along the shoreline. I was in disbelief that this was happening in Ocho Rios, a major tourist resort.
Several questions bombarded my mind: 'Where did all this waste come from?' 'What can be done to reduce or prevent this influx of solid waste on the shoreline?'
It was obvious that several tributaries emptying into the sea were the main channels. Solid waste dumped in gullies, canals and rivers are propelled by the force of water, especially after heavy rain.
This waste not only defaces the shorelines but also destroys coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamp areas, which serve as a habitat for a myriad of organisms.
Turtles, for example, consume transparent pieces of plastic bag for jelly fish, one of their main food sources. Scenarios like these, if left unaddressed, can wipe out the turtle population.
However, there is hope. Through education, we can reduce or prevent the amount of solid waste reaching the shorelines by organising environmental clubs in and around the communities, visits to schools and increased public awareness via the media.
Encourage practices such as reducing, reusing and recycling material, as well as enforce penalties for improper waste disposal.
We need to adopt simple methods such as utilising organic kitchen waste to replenish soil in backyard gardens or reusing old tyres for planting. Let us, through education, keep Jamaica clean.
I am, etc.,