ST JAMES, Jamaica – Volunteers cleared more than 1500 pounds of garbage from the One Man Beach along Jimmy Cliff Boulevard in Montego Bay on International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD) on Saturday, September 17.
The initiative, which was organised by the Montego Bay Marine Park, saw over 150 individuals, including students, members of service clubs, and hotel and community groups converging at the beach from as early as 6:00 am to conduct clean-up activities, observed under the theme: ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’.
The volunteers combed the beach, removing glass, paper and plastic containers along with other debris. The plastic items will be collected by Recycling Partners of Jamaica.
Executive Director, Montego Bay Marine Park, Hugh Shim, said the annual observance of ICCD is important in spreading information about the need to preserve the environment.
“The day is really about public awareness. Yes, we are picking up garbage and the place will be cleaner… so the goal is really to show how devastating we can be [to the environment],” he noted.
Shim said that the garbage collected will be used to inform measures to combat pollution.
“The things that we pick up are recorded and tallied and sent to the Jamaica Environmental Trust [which] will tally the entire island. That [figure] goes to the Caribbean, then to the world.
So International Coastal Cleanup Day will have a tally of all the garbage collected today and the different types. What that does is help to research what is being disposed of…then we can determine some ways of reducing the use,” he explained.
Chairman of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) Montego Bay Chapter, Nadine Spence, who was among the ICCD volunteers, said her participation was fuelled by her love for the environment.
She noted that tourism interests were also out in their numbers, as they recognise that pollution can destroy the environmental resources on which the sector depends.
“As you know, our product includes the sea and sand, and we need to ensure that the coastlines are protected so that the sand is preserved because it's a part of the [marketing] package,” she said.
Information Technology student at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Krystan Ramcharan, said it was her fourth year participating in ICCD activities.
“I think it's just very important to keep our island clean, to keep our beaches clean. It’s a very vital part of our ecosystem…and our livelihood. So, I think it's very important for young people as well as older people to keep our beaches clean and I think this event promotes that,” she said.