Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica expands

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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In February 2015, a catchy jingle hit the airwaves. "Nuh dutty up Jamaica, please don’t dweet" it went, urging people not to litter.

It was part of the social education component of the Clean Coasts Project being implemented by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), and was accompanied by stickers of an oversized garbage bag, messages in both traditional and social media, and Internet personalities. It was designed to target adults and was not intended to be complemented by any clean-up.

However, in the face of what JET said was "an overwhelming response" to the campaign over the past two years, and repeated requests from members of the public about how to get involved, it has unveiled a network of 14 service clubs, community-based groups, schools, and one private sector company which will stage clean-ups in their respective communities starting in May.

At a mid-morning event to announce the expansion of Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica yesterday, JET presented cleanup kits — comprising garbage bags, gloves, branded T-shirts, reusable water bottles, data collection cards, and a stipend — to the organisations, which are drawn from across the country. They are:

• Port Morant Community Development Committee, St Thomas

• Sandy Bay/Mt Pelier Environment Club, Hanover

• St Elizabeth Parish Development Committee

• Bushy Park Phase 2 Citizens’ Benevolent Society, Clarendon

• Portsmouth Primary, St Catherine

• Negril Education Environment Trust, Westmoreland

• White River Marine Association, St Ann

• UWI Port Royal Marine Lab, Kingston

• Drewsland Police Youth Club, Kingston

• Alligator Head Foundation, Portland

• Duncan Bay Citizens’ Association, Trelawny

• Rotaract Club of May Pen, Clarendon

• Jamaica Broilers Group (Best Dressed Chicken Division), St Catherine

• Jamaica School for Social Entrepreneurship, Manchester

"There was an overwhelming response to our invitation for applications to host clean-ups. We received over 30 in less than a week," said JET’s Deputy CEO Suzanne Stanley.

The response, she said, is indicative of a growing, but still woefully inadequate awareness of proper solid waste disposal among the general population. As an example, she pointed to JET’s first year staging a national beach clean-up as representatives of the Ocean Conservancy in 2008. Then, it had 1,800 volunteers at 34 sites, compared with last year’s figures of over 9,000 volunteers at more than 130 sites. There was evidence of the enthusiasm yesterday, too, when, after the kits were distributed, a member of the audience enquired if he could purchase one for use in Facquhars Beach in Milk River, Clarendon. It was Kent Gammon, Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for the Clarendon South Western constituency.

"I want to get people in the constituency aware of how important it is to keep that beach clean, and I’m prepared to underwrite the cost of that," he told the Jamaica Observer.

The Clean Coasts Project was launched in 2014 and includes underwater clean-ups, piloting of a debris containment boom at the mouth of the South Gully in Montego Bay, and a research day and competition targeted at Tourism Action Clubs. International Coastal Clean-up Day has also been brought under the Clean Coasts umbrella. Phase three of the project, being run from February 2017 to January 2018, has got support from long-standing sponsor Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and newcomer Wisynco, to the tune of $60 million.

Speaking yesterday at Knutsford Court Hotel, Wisynco Chairman William Mahfood said he was pleased to be associated with Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica and stressed the need to have a culture change with regard to garbage waste disposal.

"There are a lot of areas that exist in our country that need to be husbanded and cared for that are not being cared for or husbanded. I call myself an environmentalist because I love Jamaica, I travel all over the island, and when I see some of the treatment of our blessed areas I go crazy," he said.

As an example, he pointed to Mountain Spring in upper St Andrew.

"I sent my promotions team up there, we put recycle bins at the bottom of the hill, and once a month we have to send people up there because, even with the recycle bins, people are still throwing their plastic bottles along the road and I just don’t understand.

"We need to create a movement... We need to create a wave that sweeps all of Jamaica up and says start with the way you handle waste. We also have to have proper solid waste collection and we have to have proper disposal. We can start that wave. With the right types of communication and the right types of initiatives, we can really make an impact on changing the culture of discharging garbage in Jamaica. If we can do that in my lifetime we would have accomplished a lot," said Mahfood.

JET’s founder and CEO Diana McCaulay said the expanded project is an example of a unique partnership among the private sector, the public sector and a non-government organisation.

— Kimone Thompson





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