A massive turnout at the International Coastal Cleanup at the Fort Rocky beach in east Kingston sent a good signal to Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill, who believes people are becoming more aware of the environment.
The event, which took place at 90 beach sites across the island, included school groups, service clubs, corporate Jamaica, among other agencies.
"We are not going to clean up the country in a sustainable way in one day, but what we are doing is sending a message, not because of my title, but because I am a Jamaican," McNeill said. "Tourists come and go, but we are still here and it must be the mandate of all of us to live in a clean environment."
"It's not just a message of 'don't litter the beach', but it's being more responsible in managing our environment because it is everybody's business," he said.
GARBAGE DISPOSAL A PROBLEM
Suzanne Stanley, programme director of the Jamaica Environment Trust, was similarly encouraged by the support, but pointed out that garbage disposal remains a problem.
"The solid-waste problem still exists and though I am encouraged by the turnout, the challenges still exist. A number of persons still don't know proper disposable strategies. There is still a need for more recycling agencies," she said.
Participant Chris Wynter, the managing director for Earth Wise Recycling company, said he was dedicated to protecting the environment.
"Being here today is a signal that as young people, we are committed to the cause of living in a healthy environment. Plastics continue to sit on the beaches and in the dumps daily so we have a long way to go in getting the word out," said Wynter.