Hundreds turnout to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day - JET
Scores of Jamaicans on Saturday carried out a number of cleanup exercises on beaches across the island as part of efforts to participate in International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day 2019.
ICC Day takes place on the third Saturday in September every year and is considered the largest one-day volunteer event in the world.
For over three decades, the Ocean Conservancy in Texas has been coordinating volunteers across the globe to collect millions of pounds of trash in over 100 countries.
Organisers of the cleanup leg in Jamaica said some 189 beaches were targeted this year under the initiative that was being marshalled by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET).
Loop News was at the Palisadoes Strip to observe some of the local volunteers at work including staff from the Coral Marine Laboratory were busy clearing mangroves which are essential for a healthy coastal ecosystem to thrive.
Hugh Small, the Managing Director was on the ground to ensure that things were in place.
“We are here coordinating this mangrove replanting site and we have volunteers from our department of life sciences, the faculty of science and technology and students of the Alvernia preparatory School and private volunteers coming to help us clean up our mangrove restoration site,” Small said.
Small told Loop News that the volume of solid waste was high as the recent heavy rains had washed the waste into the Kingston Harbour from the 23 gullies that are emptied there.
Cleanups are taking place in every major coastal town across the island including Kingston, Portmore and Montego Bay.
The annual event is funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) since 2008.
According to international organisers Jamaica first joined the ICC movement in the mid-1990s. At that time cleanups were generally small, and took place in only a few locations across the island.
In 2008, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) became national coordinators of ICC activities in Jamaica and gained the support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) as the project’s primary donor.
That year, with TEF’s support and JET’s outreach, 27 groups coordinated 1,800 volunteers to clean up 34 beaches across the island. Since 2008, the event has grown by leaps and bounds, attracting over 9,000 volunteers annually to cleanup over 140 beaches islandwide.