THEY say experience teaches wisdom.
And done so it has for the congregants of Pentecostal Gospel Temple, for having suffered a land slippage and subsequent breakaway in 1979, they have recently launched an environmental awareness programme to ensure it never happens again.
Two weeks ago, the church, located at 111 Windward Road in the Sheffield Division, launched ‘NVIRO Missions 111’ under the theme “One Land, One People, One Future”.
The brainchild of Elder Richard Hutchinson, who desired that the church be more involved in the community outside of the “traditional activities”, the programme was developed in collaboration with the Excellent Citizens Loving Communities (ECLC) Foundation and the wider community. It seeks to inspire residents to develop and sustain a healthy environment, primarily by storing and disposing of their garbage in dedicated bins instead of on the roadside or in gullies.
The need for the intervention was also necessitated by the growing number of garbage heaps in certain sections of the division. A cursory glance around reveals pungent heaps in several areas.
It was improper disposal such as that which led to the erosion of the church’s foundation by the neighbouring McGregor Gully more than 30 years ago. The gully, they said, was piled high with garbage, preventing the water from venturing out to sea. The church has since rebuilt, but the memory lingers.
At the launch, Bishop Robert Stewart cut the ribbon around three aluminum bins, declaring the project launched. The bins, painted green and emblazoned with ‘NVIRO Mission 111’ in yellow, will be placed at stategic points throughout the community.
“The condition of one’s surroundings is significantly dependent on the people that live and operate there; therefore, the onus is on us to play our part. We affect our environment,” said church leader Bishop Carmen Stewart.
Government agencies, civic groups were among the evening’s attendees.
Manager of Public Education & Corporate Communications at the National Environmental Planning Agency Natalie Fearon, who has ties to the Windward Road community, stressed the importance of protecting the environment and keeping the community hygienic.
She was supported by Opal Davis of the National Solid Waste Management Authority who has over two decades of experience in solid waste disposal. She praised the ‘NVIRO Missions 111’ initiative and gave a personal commitment to assisting the cause in any way possible.
Indi McLymont-Lafayette, Regional Director, Community, Media and Environment at Panos Caribbean, was also among the presenters. In her presentation on climate change and its role in our environment, she showed a video, Voices for Climate Change, which featured various recording artistes like Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel and Omari singing the Lloyd Lovindeer-written song of the pressing climatechanging phenomenon.
Rounding off the segment of speakers was Derron Williams of the environment health division of the Kingston & St Andrew Health Department, who gave an elaborate presentation on effective pest control.
Chairman of the project Rorie Atkinson said workshops are scheduled for June 9 and June 23 at different locations within the division, specifically designed to assist community members on how to protect and enhance the environment. He added that the campaign will wrap up with a grand beach clean up along the Palisadoes shoreline on July 7.