‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ message not reaching citizens, activist fears
Volunteers clear 413 bags of litter during Sirgany Beach cleanup
THE VOLUME of garbage cleared during the Earth Day Beach Cleanup at Sirgany Beach in Kingston was welcomed yet troubling for Senator Matthew Samuda, the minister with responsibility for the environment.
A total of 413 bags of garbage, with an estimating weight of 4,100 pounds, were removed from the beach by a group of 149 volunteers.
The cleanup was organised on Saturday, April 22 by Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) as part of the project, ‘Increasing Awareness on the Impacts of Improper Solid Waste Disposal on Public Health, Livelihoods, and the Marine Environment’.
Commenting on the load of garbage, Samuda, who is minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said: “I applaud JET for mobilising hundreds of Jamaicans on Earth Day 2023 to clean the Sirgany Beach. I was heartened to see so many citizens participate, (but) was, however, quite distressed, to see the volume of garbage on the beach.
“We will have to redouble our efforts to reduce our litter and protect our marine environment,” he vowed.
JET’s Programme Director Lauren Creary was also of the view that the essence of the agency’s public education campaign ‘Nuh Dutty up Jamaica’ was not reaching Jamaicans.
“It was great to see the turnout, but unfortunately, there is still a disconnect between these cleanups and personal action and responsibility,” Creary said.
“Investing in our planet has to go beyond participating in a beach cleanup, which is why volunteers were also encouraged to make a pledge to either reduce, reuse, recycle, compose and ‘bag it an’ bin it’. And very importantly, to not dutty up Jamaica,” she emphasised.
The project was funded by the United Nations Development Programme, implemented by Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), and designed to build on elements of JET’s well-known ‘Nuh Dutty up Jamaica’ public education campaign. Funding support was also provided by the GraceKennedy Foundation, which also assisted with transporting volunteers and removing plastic products from the site for recycling, using the Interceptor Tender.
Over the next few months, under the GEF SGP-funded project, the JET team will continue to mobilise community groups across the island, by supporting smaller community cleanups and hosting three road tours in Kingston, Portmore and Montego Bay.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22, to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events in more than 190 countries. This year’s theme for Earth Day was the same as last year’s, ‘Invest in Our Planet’ everyone – governments, industry and individuals have a role to play in ensuring a greener future for everyone.