September 10, 2014
Hellshire Bay Beach, St. Catherine will benefit from a massive clean-up exercise on Saturday, September 20 as part of activities planned by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to mark International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICCD).
The clean-up exercise is being done in collaboration with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
Anthony McKenzie, Director of the Environmental Management and Conservation Division at NEPA said Hellshire Bay which has been the site of coastal clean-ups for many years was selected because it clearly demonstrates how a sensitive ecosystem can be impacted negatively by our inland activities.
Hellshire Bay falls within the Portland Bight Protected Area and is used for fishing and recreation.
Mr. McKenzie however stressed that while ICCD involves removing solid waste from the shoreline, the primary focus of the day is raising awareness about the root cause of marine litter.
"The majority of the garbage that is strewn across the beach is not deposited by persons who visit the shoreline; it's garbage that is disposed of improperly inland that washes down from our gullies. The lesson therefore is that we need to be more responsible about how we treat our waste inland to stem the chronic problem of marine litter."
Several companies, service clubs, community based organizations and schools have already registered for the annual event. Clean-up activities will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at midday.
Environmental Coordinator at the UDC Danae Vaccianna says garbage along the shoreline is not only unsightly but poses a threat to marine animals.
"Seabirds often ingest items such as plastic pieces which can prove fatal. Likewise sea turtle hatchlings that are seeking to make their way to the ocean may be obstructed by garbage on the beach."
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, 138 cleanups have been registered island-wide.
NEPA is inviting members of the public and other interested stakeholders to support the many local clean-up initiatives. Persons who wish to volunteer can contact Deleen Powell at 754-7540 ext. 2437 or via email at email@example.com.