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KINGSTON, Jamaica: Wednesday, February 4, 2015: The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has expended nearly $500 Million on local environmental initiatives since 2012, in keeping with the commitment of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment to play an active and vigilant role in the protection and preservation of Jamaica’s environment. These initiatives are being undertaken in partnership with governmental and non-governmental agencies, stakeholders and communities.
This was announced today (February 4) by Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, at the launch of the ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ public education campaign at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
The aim of the campaign is to improve knowledge and attitudes with regard to waste and its impact on public health and the environment. The island wide, multi-media campaign is a component of the $34.5 million TEF-funded ‘Clean Coasts Project’ that is being undertaken by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET).
“Paradoxically, tourism which is so beneficial, if not managed with vigilance, can threaten the very factors that attract visitors to our island. This is why we treat as a matter of priority, environmental management, and most relevant to this event, the mitigation of potential damage to the environment,” Minister McNeill told his audience, which comprised representatives from environmental agencies, government and corporate Jamaica. He added, “we must maintain a delicate balance in these two critical areas - with due care and timely interventions when necessary - to ensure that the industry is sustainable.”
Minister McNeill emphasized that the Ministry’s special interest in these matters was “not merely to ensure the sustainability of the industry but equally to protect and preserve our environment for ourselves as a people”, in keeping with the tenets of the Tourism Master Plan for Sustainable Development.
Some of the TEF-funded environmental initiatives also include the upgrading of 14 public beaches across the island, from Boston Beach in the East to Negril in the West; and the provision of financing, through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), for the development and implementation of a holistic plan for the protection of the tourism product.
The plan includes a study of national knowledge, practices and behavior; support for a National Air Quality Programme carrying capacity studies; promulgation and finalization of Development Orders; and the establishment of a Wildlife Sanctuary at Edgecombe, Westmoreland. The implementation of these plans began in the third quarter of last year and has a projected completion date of late 2016.
NEPA is also working on a project schedule for the establishment of a Black River Watershed Protection Management Unit. A total of $2.7 million has been allocated for this project.
Minister McNeill said that he was pleased to be collaborating with JET to launch the ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ public education campaign but emphasized that “at no time are we abdicating the Government’s responsibility to clean up Jamaica.” He pointed out that the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment through the TEF had given $350 million to the National Solid Waste Management Authority to carry out this function.
During the campaign launch JET released the 2014 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day Jamaica National Report, which documented the amount and composition of the 85,766 pounds of garbage collected by over 7,400 volunteers who cleaned 101 miles of coastline on ICC Day Jamaica 2014.