TEF invests $10 million in 2018 International Coastal Cleanup

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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The Government, which previously mooted withdrawing the Tourism Enhancement Fund's (TEF) sponsorship of International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC), spearheaded locally by Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), has pumped approximately $10 million into the project this year, two million more than last year.

“Tourism relies on our coasts being clean and beautiful; therefore, we believe this programme is good value for money,” said TEF's Executive Director Dr Carey Wallace speaking at JET's flagship clean-up site at Palisadoes Go-Kart Track on Saturday.

“We put $8 million into the International Coastal Cleanup Day. After that, we put another $2 million for our ministry and its agencies to participate. We have been sponsoring for the past 10 years, and have spent approximately $50 million during that period,” Carey said.

International Coastal Cleanup Day is coordinated globally by the Ocean Conservancy in the USA and locally by JET. It attracts millions of volunteers in more than 100 countries who clean up beaches and waterways to raise awareness about marine pollution.

Last year, Jamaica had 9,675 volunteers at over 147 sites, which was the 12th largest ICC event in the world. This was also the largest ICC day turnout in the English-speaking Caribbean.

“As far as our participation in this event, from a global perspective, we are doing extremely well. It is very encouraging and heart-warming to see that, as Jamaicans, we not only spend the time and energy to clean up our coastlines but we also demonstrate to the world that we are environmentally responsible. Last year it was 93 miles of coast that was cleaned up by the programme, “said Dr Wallace.

Saturday's clean-up came days before Government's announcement that a ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam will take effect January 1, 2019.

The JET CEO Suzanne Stanley, welcomed the decision and shared that she is excited about the future outcome.

“We are very excited about the announcement for single- use plastics. We are looking forward to those strategies being implemented by the Government, which, on the legislative side, can address some of the problems. But we as Jamaicans also have a responsibility to dispose of our garbage properly,” said Stanley.

She added: “It is very important that we raise awareness amongst our communities about proper disposal of waste. Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica has been doing this for the past few years and we are really encouraged by the support that we've confirmed from the Government of Jamaica [TEF] and the private sector, via Wisynco Group, to continue with the programme for another three years.”

The Ministry of Tourism's clean-up took place at 15 beaches across the island with 487 volunteers from Destination Assurance Councils, Tourism Action Clubs, as well as members of staff.

The Ministry said ICC is a fraction of its partnership with JET through TEF to protect the environment, pointing out that, in 2014, it expanded its commitment with the Clean Coasts Project, which includes environmental education for adults and children along with practical strategies for tackling poor solid waste management and marine debris in Jamaica. To date, TEF has funded the Clean Coats Project, under which ICC falls to the tune of $146 million, including $25 million in 2018.

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