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'TOTAL' coastal clean-up

Friday, September 22, 2017

DAVID Summerbell Jr was along the Palisadoes strip on Saturday, but not at the go-kart track. He instead ditched his driving gloves for much bigger ones as part of TOTAL Jamaica's team at the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup Day.

The champion driver from TOTAL-sponsored Team Summerbell Racing was among TOTAL Jamaica's staffers who joined approximately 1,500 volunteers operating at the Fort Rocky location along the road to Port Royal, armed with bags to collect trash along the beach and roadways in the area.

“I am here as part of TOTAL Jamaica's team doing my part to protect the environment,” Summerbell Jr said, wasting no time as he collected his glove and bags before proceeding to the Palisadoes Road where he worked with a small team of TOTAL staffers. A larger group including managing director David Ducognon focused on the beach at Fort Rocky.

“I am no stranger to the area. The go-kart track is just down the road so I definitely have an interest to ensure that, not only the Palisadoes, but all of Jamaica's coastal areas are kept as clean as possible,” Summerbell added.

More than 3,000 volunteers turned out on a bleak morning along the Palisadoes stretch, the first group situated at End of Stones, near the Gunboat Beach, each crew of volunteers proudly displaying their school, organisation or civic club on colourful T-shirts as they went about cleaning up the coast.

At Fort Rocky, inspirational songs such as We're All In This Thing Together, What's The Matter With The World, and Michael Jackson's Earth Song had volunteers scampering over the sand to collect as much garbage as they could while keeping an eye on ominous rain clouds.

Ducognon said TOTAL Jamaica was extremely pleased and is always willing to participate in such activities.

“It was very good to participate in this 2017 beach clean-up,” he said. “As an energy company, we are committed to better energy. Our willingness is to the environment and to reduce our carbon footprint. TOTAL, as an industry leader, strives to operate in an efficient manner.

“In Jamaica we have been in a partnership with the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) for nine years; big projects including the Environmental School Project, tree-planting and so on. As a global company operating in Jamaica, we are committed to the community in which we work and live,” he added.

Meanwhile, Diana MCaulay, who founded JET in 1991 and still serves as its chief executive officer and guiding force, gave TOTAL a thumbs-up for being among the thousands of volunteers islandwide.

She explained that Jamaica ninth last year in the region and 11th largest in the world on International Coastal Cleanup Day, pointing out that the aim was to crack the top-10 in 2017.

“TOTAL is one of our large funders,” she pointed out.

“We hope to continue working with Total and to get them even more on board with us,” she added, closing with the sentiment, “We hope not just to change the minds of people who come to clean-up but the minds of the leaders of these companies as well.”