I suppose I had garbage on my mind this morning. But as the bus made its way down Mountain View Avenue some time before seven, I noticed how tidy and clean the sidewalks were; and even the patches of waste ground where houses had once been. There was very little garbage of any kind to decorate the urban blight of ruined walls and vine-covered ditches. It was especially neat in the Jacques Road area. The community has been making an effort, I am quite sure. It cheered me.
The morning was warm and calm. As we drove along the Palisadoes road towards the airport, the water of Kingston Harbour was a silvery mirror. Only an occasional patch of ripples, where small fish played, disturbed the surface. Brown Pelicans and seagulls sat on rotting posts and rusting buoys. The sky was the palest blue; except lower on the horizon, where a long brown smudge obscured the hills to the west and stretched across the city. I suspect the dump must be smoking, again.
But we, the Jamaican volunteers of International Coastal Cleanup Day were marshaling our attack. We, in our turquoise T shirts with 60s-style lettering – brilliantly psychedelic – were in the vanguard. When we arrived at Fort Rocky Beach along the Port Royal Road, it was still fairly quiet. But as the morning advanced, a veritable army of volunteers descended. Operations went smoothly and efficiently. The beach was conquered before midday.
Congratulations to the organizers, Jamaica Environment Trust and the fabulous sponsors, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and Recycle Now. And to the 2,500 people who volunteered at this one location.
Below are a few photographs of the Cleanup Day. I hope you were able to do something in your neighborhood, too. On our island of Jamaica, there were 114 locations, some of them underwater!