JAMAICA’S sole oil refinery, Petrojam Limited, has deepened its commitment to environmental sustainability by launching a company-wide recycling initiative and a clean-up programme which stretches along the shoreline close to the refinery.
The company recently launched a quarterly clean-up initiative, which is a continuation of efforts to reduce the volumes of garbage that accumulate along the shoreline from the release of bottles and other waste from the Shoemaker and Tivoli gullies, both of which empty near Petrojam.
Recent activity under this programme has already yielded close to 2,500 pounds of garbage, which consists mainly of plastic bottles, as well as small and large household appliances.
In March, the company also launched an internal recycling initiative, under the tagline “Bin It, There’s Use in It”, which involves the collection and recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bottles used on or off the Petrojam compound. All bottles retrieved through both programmes will be processed by the Recycling Partners of Jamaica.
“Throughout our 40 years of operation, Petrojam has always sought to implement environmental initiatives of both national and global impact. This is the first time we are doing an environmental initiative that touches the staff personally. Our sustainability efforts must continue and expand for the benefit of the environment, and most importantly, future generations,” said Petrojam’s manager for safety, environment and quality, Leon Jarrett, at the official launch of the recycling programme,
In the meantime, Petrojam’s Public Relations Officer Latoya Pennant, who oversees the company’s corporate social responsibility programme, said that both initiatives are aligned to its core value, which speaks to the organisation’s commitment to health, safety and the environment.
“The effect of plastic on the marine environment is quite devastating. Annually, we host an beach clean-up and during the last clean-up we removed close to 2,000 pounds of garbage from the shoreline. Yet, no sooner than it is removed, more washes ashore from the Tivoli and Shoemaker Gullies,” said Pennant.
She noted that the shoreline along Petrojam has been an eyesore, particularly for the employees, who have to see it daily.
“The Petrojam team therefore decided to undertake more frequent removals, outside of the annual beach clean-up activity, even as we explore longer-term, more sustainable solutions. Our launch of the recycle Initiative is one small part of this sustainable solution, where we are playing our part in reducing the amount of bottles that find their way in the marine environment,” added Pennant as she emphasised the need for serious behavioural change among Jamaicans with regard to proper garbage disposal.
Petrojam’s shoreline clean-up activities have been carried out in partnership with fisherfolk of the Greenwich Fishing Village. There are also plans to expand the recycling programme to include select educational institutions and the Greenwich Fishing Beach.