SANDALS and Beaches resorts in Jamaica recently demonstrated their environmental stewardship by helping to clean six sites during International Coastal Clean-up Day on September 15.
"The move signifies Sandals' ongoing commitment to the environment and its efforts to encourage environmental responsibility among its team," said a release from Sandals Resorts International.
The team cleaned:
* the border of the Freeport Lagoon and Mahoe Bay in Montego Bay, St James; as well as
* the Negril Beach Park in Negril and the Parker Point Beach in Whitehouse, Westmoreland; and
* Old Jail Lane Beach and the Ocho Rios Marine Park in St Ann's Bay.
More than 200 workers from Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Carlyle turned out to clean the grassland bordering Montego Bay's Freeport Lagoon. At the end of the day, they collected 190 bags of garbage weighing some 3,324 pounds.
Among the garbage collected were over 5,000 plastic bottles, 3,790 plastic bags and close to 2,000 cups, plates, forks, and spoons, along with myriad other items ranging from car parts and tarpaulin to diapers and condoms.
Natasha Parchment-Clarke, Rotarian and director of the New Generations Clubs of Western Jamaica, who spearheaded that clean-up, had nothing but thanks for the team from Sandals.
"We were delighted to have partnered with the team from the Sandals Montego Bay region and anticipate even more partnerships in the future. Their energy was infectious and their service standards, even when giving out water, was truly representative of the luxury-included difference for which Sandals is known," she said in the release.
In Negril, team members from Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril resorts donned gloves to clean up a section of the Negril Beach Park — a popular hang-out spot for locals and tourists alike. The group collected 19 bags of garbage weighing close to 100 pounds.
"This beach clean-up reaffirms our company's commitment to protecting the world's most precious natural resource — water. [It was also about] promoting responsible water usage and environmental sustainability and building healthy communities," noted Sadiq Miller, Beaches Negril's environment health and safety manager and leader of the resort's 'green' team.
"Cleaning this stretch of beach will make a huge difference in the lives of many of the locals, as well as tourists who can now enjoy a beach that is unpolluted and aesthetically appealing," he added.
In the St Ann/St Mary region, more than 20 workers from Sandals Grande Riviera and Sandals Royal Plantation joined members of the community to remove garbage from sections of the Old Jail Lane Beach. The effort yielded over 40 bags of garbage.
They also staged a reef clean-up, employing the efforts of 11 guests and staff divers who retrieved 60 pounds of garbage, consisting mostly of old fish traps, from the marine park reef. This was in addition to the regular coastline clean-up activity.
The watersports team at Sandals Royal Caribbean also dispatched snorkellers who retrieved 32 pounds of debris from the waters of the Mahoe Bay in St James during their reef clean-up efforts.
Beach and coastal clean-up activities form part of Sandals and Beaches Resorts' environmental programme, born out of a vision to preserve the natural beauty of the surroundings, particularly in close proximity to the properties.
All Sandals resorts are Earth Check-certified, with three of its resorts in Jamaica — Sandals Negril, Beaches Negril and Sandals Grand Riviera — receiving platinum certification.
"This has been achieved through the sound environmental practices of the resorts that include staff awareness, the implementation of waste, energy and water management systems and the control of hazardous substances," the release noted.