September 17, 2015
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) are encouraging service clubs, community-based organizations and companies to adopt a beach.
Both Agencies made the call ahead of International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD), Saturday, September 19. The two Agencies have again partnered to clean up Hellshire Bay, St. Catherine on ICCD.
Anthony McKenzie, Director of the Environmental Management and Conservation Division said the Agencies will be targeting volunteers at its Hellshire Bay cleanup for the pilot phase of its 'Adopt a Beach' programme.
The initiative entails keeping a designated stretch of coastline clean all year round. According to Mr. McKenzie, while regular cleanups do not address the root cause of marine litter - improper disposal - they are effective ways of showing individuals how irresponsible dumping inland can wreak havoc on the coastline.
"Regular cleanups will not only make the beaches more aesthetically pleasing but will serve to sensitize individuals about the negative impact of marine litter and hopefully encourage persons to practice good disposal habits all year round," added McKenzie.
During last year's cleanup approximately 1,600 kilograms (4,500 pounds) of solid waste including 528.98 kilograms (1,166 pounds) of recyclables were collected from the Hellshire Bay coastline, which lies within the Portland Bight Protected Area.
Danae Vaccianna, Environmental Coordinator at the UDC, said if every community-based organization, service club or company adopt a beach this would go a far way in addressing marine pollution.
"As a country we have a civic responsibility in preserving our natural environment. The adoption of a beach will foster a feeling of pride and ownership and this we hope will translate into the reduction of marine litter," she said.
Interested individuals can contact NEPA for more information on joining the 'Adopt a Beach' programme.
Jamaica is one of more than 100 countries celebrating ICCD, which is coordinated internationally by the Ocean Conservancy. The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is the national coordinator for ICCD in Jamaica. So far, over 100 cleanups have been registered island-wide.