THOUSANDS of volunteers from corporate Jamaica, a variety of educational institutions as well as private citizens showed up for the environment on International Coastal Clean-up Day recently.
They turned out in droves to Fort Rocky Beach in the Port Royal-Palisadoes Protected Area — one of some 60-plus clean-up sites this past September 15 — intent on doing their part in the interest of environmental preservation.
Together, they successfully rid the beach of several pounds of solid waste, including old tyres, plastic bottles, wrappers, shoes, clothes, and paper.
International Coastal Clean-up Day began in 1985 as an environment study aimed at collecting data on the pollution levels of our oceans in order to improve their health as well as that of our waterways and coastlines.
Meanwhile, Peter Knight, chief executive officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency, which helped co-ordinate clean-up activities, said the level of pollution seen at Fort Rocky was unacceptable. He noted that it is therefore necessary for increased public education to be undertaken.
Denise Brown, a grade five teacher at Denham Town Primary School, was of a similar view. She said she had opted to take a number of students and another teacher along to the clean up to help open their eyes to the pollution in Jamaica and the need to address it.
"I've always thought that we have been very nasty. Over the last 40 years or so, we have done very badly in terms of protecting the environment. We have so many plastics in the mangroves and I'm surprised," Brown told Career & Education.
Suzanne Stanley, programme director for Jamaica Environment Trust, national co-ordinator for International Coastal Clean-up Day, expressed pleasure at the level of support.
"This year was basically the best clean-up that we've had. We started 19 years ago and we're really grateful for the support," she said.
Stanley added that the annual clean-up has ignited the interest of many over the years.
"Many persons now seem to be more interested in environment and how they can help the environment," she said.