Sun | Jun 17, 2018

Earth Today | Cleaner streets ahead for south coast communities

Published:Thursday | June 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
From left: Adrian Whitehead, Sandals South Coast; Gillian Guthrie, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; Sancha Foreman, United Nations Environment; Anthony McKenzie, National Environment and Planning Agency; Jonathan Hernould, Sandals Foundation; and Diego Salmon, Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary, lock hands to signify their partnership to protect the environment.
Environment, health and safety guardians from Sandals South Coast’s landscaping department, Darren Rowe (left) and Rafie Clarke are caught on camera with large loads of debris they retrieved from the beach immediately in front of the Whitehouse Fish Market during a Beach Cleanup activity on World Oceans Day.
Sandals Foundation volunteers and environment, health and safety guardians from Sandals South Coast shows the debris they collected from the Whitehouse Fish Market during a Beach Cleanup activity in commemoration of World Oceans Day, June 8.
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CLEANER STREETS are to become a reality for the Whitehouse and Bluefields communities, thanks to grant funding from United Nations Environment and the Sandals Foundation.

The grant, valued at US$25,000, is allowing the foundation to move ahead with a project to clean up the communities while educating residents on proper waste management.

Launched on World Oceans Day (June 8), the project is supported by Recycling Partners of Jamaica, the National Environment & Planning Agency, and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

It is comprised of three components - public awareness and separation; waste separation and management; and monitoring. The public awareness campaign will educate community members on how to separate and manage their waste and the benefits of doing so, while helping them to understand project goals and securing their support and participation.

At least one weekly activity will be carried out in each community by the Sandals Foundation and the Peace Corps. Included is participation in community development committee meetings, town walks, school activities, and church services to connect with residents.

The communities will also be provided with 200 labelled bins to allow for the separation of waste into plastics for recycling, compostable material and garbage. Each category of waste will be collected by a different entity once each week.

"Pollution in the area has significantly affected the Whitehouse and Bluefields Bay Special Fishery Conservation Areas (SFCA), which not only affects marine life, but (also) the livelihoods of local fishermen who depend on the SFCAs to provide more and larger fish in the surrounding areas," noted environmental officer at the Sandals Foundation, Jonathan Hernould.

"Large amounts of garbage generated by the two communities end up either on the coast or in the sea. On September 17, 2016, 2,620 pounds of garbage was collected on one 200m-stretch of beach in Whitehouse," he added.

Meanwhile, Hernould said regular monitoring will be done through a number of social surveys and land and underwater clean-ups to gauge the public's knowledge and measure the progress of the project.

"There are several things that we are looking to see happen through the programme, including less garbage ending up in the sea and less visible garbage in the communities. Through our public awareness, education and the provision of waste separation bins, the communities will have the tools to properly separate and dispose of their garbage," Hernould said.

"There is also the possibility of income-generation oppor-tunities through composting, less mosquito-borne diseases, better-managed protected areas, and an overall social change that will see residents playing a more active role in the protection of their environment," he added.

pwr.gleaner@gmail.com