Last month, the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change unveiled an advertising campaign which seeks to draw national attention to the critical issue of climate change.
A number of Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses have been emblazoned with slogans such as 'Climate Change: We have to Change' and messages urging persons to protect the environment, including the coastal resources.
The advertisement campaign is funded under the Government of Jamaica/European Union(EU)/United Nations Environment Programme Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Project, as part of its public education initiative.
Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill, who viewed the advertisements at the JUTC Rockfort depot, said the use of the buses "is another way to reach thousands of persons with the message".
It is hoped that JUTC commuters and motorists, on seeing the messages displayed, will seek to get more information about climate change and its effects and what they can do to help.
"We must adapt to climate change. We must learn about what we can do, and we have to find new ways to communicate this message to all Jamaicans," Pickersgill stated.
He said eight JUTC buses are being utilised in the process would "service all four zones where the bus service operates".
He noted that while Jamaica has made strides towards climate-change adaptation, much more work needs to be done, and citizens have a key role to play.
"It is up to each of us to play our part in this response. We have to ensure that we protect our environment, be better prepared for natural disasters, adhere to and enforce planning and zoning regulations, maintain our drains and gullies to reduce the risk of flooding, prevent deforestation, as well as protect our coastal resources, which shield us against storms and sea surge," he said.
Head of the EU delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei, agreed that every Jamaican has a responsibility to act in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
She expressed pleasure at the campaign being undertaken, which, she said, "is intended to raise awareness among the population, which sometimes doesn't see the effects of their own individual activities on climate change".
"The EU is actively cooperating with the Government of Jamaica and other governments in the Caribbean on matters relating to climate change," she said.
Head of the Meteorological Service, Jeffery Spooner, said using the JUTC buses is an excellent strategy to take the message of climate change to the general public, especially in the high-density metropolitan area.
"What this will do is bring to them the importance of climate change. We need to know that we all have to change, so this is part of bringing awareness to climate change, then, to spur their interest to find out how to become part of this whole adaptation to the impact of climate change," he said.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project is being executed by the Forestry Department, the National Environment and Planning Agency, the Meteorological Service, and the Environment Management Division of the Ministry.