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KINGSTON, Jamaica, September 19, 2017: In keeping with efforts to bolster protection of the island’s environmental resources, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) committed some J$8 million to Saturday’s (September 16) staging of International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD), while rallying a team of over 400 volunteers to participate in cleanup efforts across the island.
The teams, which comprised staff from TEF, the Ministry of Tourism and its other agencies as well as students, family and friends, were stationed at sites in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Trelawny, Montego Bay and sites on the South Coast.
TEF Executive Director Dr. Carey Wallace, who joined thousands of volunteers at the End of Stones site along the Palisadoes strip in Kingston, said he was pleased to see the excellent turnout, especially of young people. “We have been on board since inception and to date we have committed some $43 million to this very important environmental initiative. This hands-on experience is a powerful way to educated people about the impact of poorly handled waste on the environment. TEF is serious about protecting and preserving our natural resources and we are pleased to be partnering with JET in doing so,” Dr. Wallace said.
ICCD, which is coordinated globally by the Ocean Conservancy and locally by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), is aimed at building global environmental awareness. It is dubbed the “world’s biggest volunteer effort to protect the ocean,” with an estimated half million people around the world participating. There were 150 cleanup sites across Jamaica being coordinated by 95 local groups, including service clubs, schools, public and private sector organisations, NGOs and community based organisations. It is estimated that some 10,000 volunteers participated this year. TEF has been the title sponsor for the local event since 2008.
JET CEO Diane McCauley said that TEF’s involvement is important to the long haul of the programme. Noting that improper waste disposal is a long term problem, Ms. McCauley said, “It takes time to change attitudes so we look forward to TEF’s continued support.”
The TEF also sponsors JET’s Clean Coasts Project, which seeks to increase awareness of the negative impact of poor solid waste disposal practices on our health, marine life and the environment as a whole. The project includes environmental education for adults and children along with practical strategies for tackling poor solid waste management and marine debris in Jamaica. The TEF has committed some J$114 million to this project to date.
The TEF Act speaks to the importance of encouraging proper environmental stewardship and has provided some $674 million to various environmental initiatives over the years.