Sun | Sep 25, 2022

Collective responsibility to protect the environment

Published:Thursday | July 25, 2019 | 12:17 AM


I was distressed on arriving at the Mona Dam for my morning walk to see empty plastic water and drink bottles scattered all over the car park, and on the route to the reservoir track.

Do the many persons who walk and run the dam daily discard their drink bottles heedlessly on the ground? Do the staff at the dam throw away their lunch containers in the bushes? I looked around and noted that there are in fact no rubbish containers around the circumference of the track – not one.

Some people had taken to putting their empty water bottles into the forks of some of the trees surrounding the dam – I saw one tree sprouting at least five water bottles, like strange fruit. I guess that in the absence of rubbish bins, and not wanting to either carry the empties or throw them on the ground, some people resorted to being inventive.

There are two points that I want to make.

First, the National Water Commission needs to provide appropriate receptacles for the disposal of plastic bottles by the staff and patrons of the Mona Dam.

The second is that we now have the information and so know that plastic is killing the earth. Millions of tons of plastic are filling up the oceans and entering the food chain, killing marine life along the way. Micro plastics are now being found in humans. We do not yet know the long-term consequences of that – but it cannot be good.


We in Jamaica need to be more aware of the damage that plastic does (it will take 500 to 1,000 years for one water bottle to decompose in a landfill). There should be an awareness that prevents someone from casually tossing away an empty plastic bottle. We need to get to the stage where it would be a shock to see a plastic bottle littering the environment.

To get back to my original question – whose responsibility is it to clean up the plastic? The answer is that it is our collective responsibility. It is my responsibility.

On my next walk, I will be carrying a bag.

Michele Rattray-Huish

Kingston 6