Environment

KFTL joins worldwide effort to end plastic pollution

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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As millions of people across the globe observed World Earth Day on April 22 under the theme 'End Plastic Pollution', Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) reported the removal of 8,299 bags of garbage, comprising mainly plastics, from the Refuge Cay mangroves in Kingston.

This effort was the first phase of a clean-up and rehabilitation project sponsored by KFTL and executed by The University of the West Indies Centre for Marine Sciences and the Port Royal Marine Laboratory. The cleaning started on January 8, 2018 and lasted six weeks.

In addition to the bags of garbage, other items cleared included 30 refrigerators, 13 cooking gas cylinders, five washing machines and more than 50 tyres. Miscellaneous items such as car bumpers, crates, buckets, a Scuba tank, nets, fishing lines and small appliances were also removed.

The second phase of the project, the installation of barriers to prevent further garbage build-up on the cay, was completed on March 23, 2018. The third phase, which involves fisherfolk removing garbage built up in the barriers on a monthly basis, commenced in April 2018, while the fourth phase, the replanting of mangrove saplings, is slated to begin this month, KFTL said in a news release.

The company said that following on these gains, it has commenced initiatives at its facility to help end plastic pollution. These include removing single-use plastic straws from its canteen and embarking on a recycling campaign, which will encourage staff to separate various waste streams, including plastic. Moreover, plans have been initiated to replace the company's supply of styrofoam containers with biodegradable alternatives.

The Recycling Partners of Jamaica reported that between March 2014 and March 2017 it recovered more then 3.3 million pounds of plastics — or over 100 million bottles — from the environment in Jamaica.

Earth Day Network, the organisation that leads Earth Day observations worldwide, has reported that more than 300 million tons of plastic are sold globally each year, 90 per cent of which is thrown away.

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