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NEPA to partner with UDC for coastal clean-up day on September 16

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) will be partnering with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) in its beach clean-up exercises at select locations across the island, as part of activities for International Coastal Clean-Up Day on Saturday, September 16.

The select areas are Half Moon Bay in Hellshire, St Catherine; the Portland Bight Protected Area and locations in Negril.

International Coastal Clean-Up Day is a global event initiated by Ocean Conservancy (OC) in 1986. Its aim is to engage citizens to remove trash and debris from beaches and waterways all around the world, identify the sources of debris, and change the behavioural patterns that contribute to pollution.

NEPA’s clean-up exercise is one of hundreds of projects registered islandwide for the day. The overall activities are being coordinated by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), with support from several organisations and entities.

Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on Friday, Public Relations Officer, Deleen Powell, informed that the clean-up day is to highlight the issue of improper disposal of solid waste and to indicate that marine litter is a serious problem around the world and in Jamaica, affecting not only the beaches but also the birds and marine animals that use the ocean.

“A very big part of coastal clean-up day is not just removing garbage but also about collecting the information related to the type of garbage…so we ask that persons complete the data sheets provided and record the types of garbage that they are collecting and how much garbage. Once that is done, it will help us to get a better picture of the kinds of non-biodegradable items that we are finding along our coastline,” Powell pointed out.

She added that this information will allow the agency to have a better understanding of the consumption and disposal practices of persons, and based on the data, policies can be crafted to address the problem of solid waste.

“Solid waste is a very real problem and it is a problem that is not going away, so we cannot ignore it. In addition to the garbage looking unsightly along our beaches, it poses a threat to marine life, birds and the fish, which will actually end up ingesting plastic, plastic bags, styrofoam which can be disastrous for them,” the public relations officer emphasized.

Powell noted that the annual clean-up exercise is one of the agency’s main public education thrusts, as the team uses the day to talk to students, corporate Jamaica, the community, police and various civil society groups, about the growing problem of garbage and waste disposal in Jamaica.

“We do not want people to just come in and clean up the beach on that day and then forget about the issue. We want it to continue year-round. We want persons to change the way they think about garbage, change the way they dispose of their garbage, and assume personal responsibility when it comes to disposal of garbage,” she said.

Persons wishing to participate in International Coastal Clean-Up Day can visit JET’s website at www.jamentrust.org to register. They can also access information on the entire list of activities, their locations and the organisers of the events.

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