Government and International partners plan to tackle solid waste for trash free waters in the Bluefields and Whitehouse Communities in Jamaica

On World Oceans Day (June 8), all roads led to the launch of the Solid Waste Reduction Project in Bluefields and Whitehouse communities in Westmoreland organized by Sandals Foundation. The pilot project falls within the scope of the Trash Free Waters Initiative involving government and international partners ; The National Environment and Planning Agency as lead environmental agency in Jamaica, the United Nations Environment Programme – Caribbean Environment Programme (Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention); UN Environment’s Regional Office for Latin America and its Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, Peace Corps and  the donor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Trash Free Partnership International brings stakeholders together  identifying priority needs and developing projects and activities in pilot countries, Panama and Jamaica to reduce and prevent land-based trash from entering watersheds, coastal waters, and the marine environment.

Rapid growth of solid waste generation is a challenge for all countries in the Caribbean region. Pollution and loss of endangered and endemic species have overwhelmed Caribbean countries over the last 10 to 15 years, emerging as a serious developmental issue. The Riverton City disposal site, the largest in Jamaica, receives only 60 percent of the solid waste generated.

This year’s World Environment Day celebrated on Tuesday, June 5th focused on  the global call to action as we work together to Beat Plastic Pollution encouraging all  ‘If you can’t re-use it, please refuse it!’ In efforts to address the ever growing quantities of plastic polluting our landscape and Caribbean Sea, ultimately affecting both our wildlife and health. World Oceans Day (June 8), we were reminded of how important it is to take care of and responsibly use natural resources like our Oceans.

This Solid Waste Reduction Project from the scope of the Trash Free Waters Initiative includes activities adopting the concept of solid waste as a resource. Community residents will be involved in the reuse, recycling of PET plastics into distributed bins and yard cuttings, vegetables and fruits will be composted. The concept of upcycling will be introduced within the project activities whereby communities can sustain their livelihood from recycling and ultimately transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality, or for better environmental value.

Residents of both Bluefields and Whitehouse in Westmoreland participated in a clean-up on the beach in the early morning on June 8, 2018 in commemoration of World Oceans Day. A total of twenty residents participated in the launch including Mr. Michael Jackson, President of the Whitehouse Community Development Centre and Mr. Wolde Kristos, President of the Bluefields Peoples Community Association.