Coastal clean-up bears fruit - More than 100,000 pounds of garbage

January 02, 2017
This volunteer sifts through garbage during last year's International Coastal Cleanup Day.
These were just a small percentage of the garbage collected during last year's International Coastal Cleanup Day.
Suzanne Stanley

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has released a report which suggests that its efforts to keep Jamaica’s coastline clean through the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day are gaining momentum, but the improper disposal of plastic continues to be a huge problem.
In a release, the JET said that a report which summarises last year’s one-day volunteer event at 138 sites across the island collected a record-breaking 109,433 pounds of garbage, including more than 225,000 plastic bottles.
“Every year the list of top 10 waste items collected by ICC volunteers is filled with used plastic, and this year is no different,” said Suzanne Stanley, JET’s Deputy CEO. “This year’s report reaffirms Jamaica’s persistent plastic problem, one which only seems to be getting worse. Plastic is non-biodegradable, so not only is the problem persistent, so is the material. Plastic does not naturally break down quickly when thrown away and persists in our environment for many years, often causing problems wherever it ends up.”

Break records

The amount of garbage collected was not the only thing on the rise, as the report showed that the number of volunteers has also increased.
“Although not attracting the targeted 10,000 volunteers, ICC still managed to break records for the number of Jamaicans who participated in the clean-up ­ 9,276,” the release added.
“One of the ways all Jamaicans can help their environment is by properly managing their garbage, especially non-biodegradable waste like plastic,” Stanley said. “Reduce, reuse, and where facilities exist, recycle plastic waste. Also, ensure you put any remaining garbage in a bag and place it in a bin for collection. The better we manage our garbage on land, the less will end up on our coasts and in the ocean where it is significantly harder to clean up”
Last year, International Cleanup Day took place on September 17, its main sponsor was the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

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