Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has provided a substantial contribution of $7.5 million.
This contribution will go towards the success of International Coastal Cleanup Day, which took place on September 16, 2023. The annual event, held at 186 sites across Jamaica, aimed to preserve the island’s pristine coastlines and champion environmental sustainability.
Expressing his support for the event, Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, emphasized the significance of International Coastal Cleanup Day for Jamaica’s future. He stated: “I firmly believe that the Coastal Cleanup holds immense importance for Jamaica’s future. Our pristine coastlines are not only the gateway to our thriving tourism industry but also a reflection of our dedication to environmental sustainability.”
The Minister continued: “I am heartened by the number of Jamaicans I see actively participating in the International Coastal Cleanup each year, as it demonstrates our commitment to preserving Jamaica’s natural beauty, ensuring that our shores remain stunning and inviting for generations to come.” As the title sponsor of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative since 2008, TEF recognizes the critical role of environmental protection in preserving and enhancing Jamaica’s tourism product.
The impressive results achieved through this initiative are a testament to the dedication of volunteers and organizations. In 2022, 6,020 volunteers from 134 groups joined hands to collect an impressive 79,507 pounds of garbage from 124 miles of coastline across all 14 parishes in Jamaica.
During the cleanup activities at JET’s flagship site at the Palisadoes Go-Kart track on Saturday (September 16), Dr. Theresa Rodriguez-Moodie, Environmental Scientist and CEO at Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), highlighted the focus on addressing plastic pollution during this year’s clean-up efforts. She emphasized the importance of educating volunteers about reducing the use of single-use plastics and promoting recycling practices.
Although the number of volunteers was scaled back this year due to improved conditions at certain sites, she stressed that coastal cleanups remain vital in preventing plastics and garbage from entering the marine environment.
Dr. Theresa Rodriguez-Moodie, Environmental Scientist and CEO at Jamaica Environment Trust, said: “We had a smaller clean-up this year. Last year we had 1000 volunteers, in 2019 we had 2000 volunteers on this very site.
“We decided to cut back on the number of volunteers this year because having gone through and checked the site beforehand, we realised it is not as bad. One of the reasons we are thinking, is because of the ocean cleanup project which is happening in partnership with Grace Kennedy Foundation where they have barriers in front of a few of the major gullies and we also have the recycling programme that is in place.
“But coastal cleanups are still very important because it is the last opportunity that we have to remove the plastics and garbage before it gets to the marine environment and causes further problems.” International Coastal Cleanup Day, held on the third Saturday of September annually, is recognized as the largest one-day volunteer event in the world.
Initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in Texas over three decades ago, the event brings together volunteers from over 100 countries to collect millions of pounds of trash. In Jamaica, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) became the national coordinator of ICC activities in 2008, with the support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) as its primary sponsor.
TEF remains dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability in Jamaica and will continue collaborating with organizations and individuals to protect the country’s natural beauty.