Govt not doing enough to protect the environment


July 20, 2016
File Diana McCaulay

Diana McCaulay, the CEO of the Jamaica Environment Trust, said the state is doing a poor job of protecting the environment.

"I think those state functions that exist for the protection of the environment are weak and have been weak for the entire time that I have been doing this work, which is 25 years," McCaulay said.

"I think we talk a good talk, but we often hear our politicians talk about making big changes, but it actually doesn't play out to protect the environment. A lot more can be done, but we need the help of everyone to make a greater impact to improve the quality of our environment," she said.

Her comments come against the background of several calls for more to be done to protect Jamaica's coral reefs. Already, the move to ban the capture of parrotfish appears to be gaining traction.

big relationship

"The coral reefs and the fishes have a big relationship together. If you take away the fish, the coral reefs die, and if you take away the coral, the fishes die. It is like a chain, so over-fishing will affect the coral reef because there are some types of fish that eat alga off the reefs and alga is there because of some of the things that come off the land," McCaulay said.

Loureene Jones, coordinator in the ecosystems management branch at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), told THE STAR that improper waste disposal has been contributing to the destruction of the coral reefs and the general environment.

"Most of the trash that is found in these areas are from our everyday use, so it mainly shows how we dispose our garbage on land then it washes down into the gullies and then out into the sea, so we'll find a lot of various garbage out there," she said.

NEPA said that shoreline and recreational activities account for the majority of marine debris that are often collected in cleaning-up activities. The agency said that this may be due to the fact that two-thirds of the country's population live in coastal cities and towns.

- Chadwayne Rowe

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