Negril to go fully green
NEGRIL will be green by December 2001 if the private sector, environmental and community-based organisations and public sector agencies based in this west-coast town have anything to do with it.
A pilot project, titled The Greening of Negril is the vehicle used to win green destination status for the town to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) and to establish an efficient solid waste management programme and a recycling programme.
The project is funded by the Coastal Water Quality Improvement Project (CWIP) – a bilateral effort between NEPA/NRCA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAD) and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica. It is being spearheaded by a broad-based committee under the leadership of the Negril Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and including the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT), Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, Western Parks & Markets, the Ministries of Health and Water, the Negril Police and Parish Council and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo). Among the major objectives are the provision in Negril of a reliable and effective garbage collection system and the establishment of a recycling centre to reduce materials going to the disposal sites.
The development and implementation of an environmental education programme and work with schools on solid waste management programmes will also be undertaken. The project will also seek to beautify selected public areas, develop an environmental ethic/culture within the community and demonstrate the use of EMS as an effective tool for implementing environmental projects at the community level.
The “Greening of Negril” project was born out of a CWIP-hosted seminar last July at which members of the Negril community identified solid waste management as a major environmental, social and economic concern.
Members of the hospitality and tourism sector in particular, noted the increasing interest of guests and tour operators in green operations within hotels and destinations in general.
USAID Assistant Mission Director, Dr Alexander Dickie, sees the Greening of Negril project and the implementation of the solid waste management programme as “critical to the maintenance of Negril’s heritage, and reputation of pristine beauty”.
Commending the “spirit of cooperation and dedication to environmental management” which he said would be critical to the success of the project, Dr Dicki said: “The greening of Negril is not just about planting more trees.
It is the improvement of environmental management and application of the EMS approach within the hotel, manufacturing and service industries.
It is about reliable and effective garbage collection and the development of an environmental ethic and culture within the community.”
The greening of the tourism industry, Dr Dickie said, is a tremendous marketing opportunity for Jamaica and Negril is well-placed to take advantage of the industry trend in which travellers are beginning to understand the value of preservation and conservation and their environmental preferences are slowly influencing the tourism industry.
CWIP chief of party, Jan Auman, also had high praise for the impressive acceleration of community organisation and action in Negril.
In Negril, he said, innovative environmental initiatives, utilising broad-based stakeholder partnerships, have been formed and are now operational in an integrated natural resources management strategy.
Such initiatives, he explained include partnerships in water quality monitoring, waste water management, community-based environmental programmes and environmental awareness and behaviour change.
The recycling programme and solid waste management programme he said, will advance the community’s goal of “a green Negril”.