Informant culture will help keep Jamaica clean, says NSWMA boss
Garbage pile-up on Waltham Park Road in St Andrew. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Adapting an informant culture will better assist in keeping Jamaica clean of unwanted garbage, according to executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Audley Gordon.

“For Jamaica to be beautiful, we must point out those people who are duttying up the place. We must take personal responsibility,” Gordon said during the opening ceremony of the World Oceans’ Day event held by Western Parks and Market Waste Management Limited (WPM) at Fisherman’s Beach on June 8.

“We do not take responsibility for the environment; we believe that someone else can do it. That’s the biggest mistake, when you believe that somebody else will do it. It is our duty when we see somebody drop a bottle to tell them to take it up,” he said.

Pointing out that people living in other countries have adapted this culture, Gordon lashed out at Jamaicans who, he said, immediately become environmentally conscious once they go to these foreign countries. But Gordon admitted these countries have also implemented effective solutions to their garbage problem.

“There is a flawed culture where we can dutty up Jamaica and as we go to New York or Miami, we stop. Why is it that we are comfortable duttying up Jamaica, but as we come off a plane elsewhere, all of a sudden… good behaviour?

“If you do that there you will get caught easily because the culture rejects it, they have an adequate amount of cameras all over the place. But not only that, the people there believe in informing. They believe in telling the authorities what’s wrong. Down here we bun fire pon informers, that is another flaw in our culture,” Gordon said.

He pointed out that the illegal act of littering has forced countries to implement these environmental conscious days across the world.

“World Oceans’ Day is a very sad admission of society’s failure. We should not have to put one person on the beach front to clean up anything, so this is kind of a bittersweet exercise. Bitter because too [many] of our Jamaican citizenry are comfortable littering. They litter happily, they even talk about some garbage that when they litter it provides jobs for people; Nonsense! You drive along the main roads, nobody nuh live pon the roadside but you see garbage along the roadside,” said the NSWMA boss.

“Littering is dangerous, not just to where you live, but it is dangerous to marine life. If we are going to be fixing Jamaica, we must desist from the wanton littering. All of us have a part to play in the Clean Jamaica, Clean World campaign,” he appealed.

However, Gordon stated, there is some responsibility on the Government to adequately protect the environment by prosecuting those who are determined to litter.

“If you insist on littering, I believe we ought to have in place the right fines that when we ketch yuh a litter, we lick a ticket pon yuh so yuh nuh do it again,” he said.

“We cannot continue to write up to 400 tickets per month for $5,000…and all those little monies that people can pay it and keep littering. There must be some big fines that deter them when they pay it because it is a serious dent on their economics, so that they don’t do it again,” Gordon maintained.

There is also a need for technological support, the NSWMA boss noted.

“We must, especially in our public space, employ technology to help us watch them. Our cameras need to be deployed all over the place so that we can see the perpetrators in real time, download their picture, and go at them just like we go at any other criminals,” he told the ceremony.

“We want to have enough enforcement so that we can really have the boots on the ground to prosecute,” said Gordon.

He further emphasised the need for employing personal responsibility as a tool to address the environmental concerns that are plaguing the country.

“As part of my contribution to World Oceans’ Day, I am calling for changed behaviour among my Jamaican populace. I want us to take personal responsibility for our surroundings, the garbage that we generate, and not become a litter bug,” he said.

“A lot of us don’t see anything wrong with it, but when they go to the market and they can’t get nice fish to buy dem seh dem want justice. It is a lose-lose situation when we litter and when we don’t containerise our garbage.”

GORDON... there is a flawed culture where we can dutty up Jamaica and as we go to New York or Miami, we stop
Rochelle Clayton

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