Jamaica’s Persistent Plastic Problem: JET Publishes Results of Coastal Cleanup Day 2016

Jamaica Environment Trust
Jamaica Environment Trust

Well, no surprises here… At last year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day at the Palisadoes in Kingston, it was easy to see that plastic bottles would be at the top of the list. We have to tackle this problem with increased determination! Once again, it was quite a record-breaking year for JET in terms of the volume collected. I noticed the huge amount of “tiny trash” (very small pieces of both plastic and foam) – 77,645 pieces in total. These tiny pieces are ingested by marine life (including birds) causing huge problems for the animals themselves, and for us humans; we may be eating these fish.

Tourism Enhancement Fund
Tourism Enhancement Fund

Kingston, January 30, 2017

Today, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) released its report for the island’s International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC) activities in 2016. The report summarises the one-day volunteer event which took place on September 17 at 138 sites across Jamaica last year. A record breaking 109,433.7 pounds of garbage was collected by 9,276 volunteers at the event, including a staggering 225,070 plastic beverage bottles, which topped the list of most common items collected.

“Every year the list of top ten waste items collected by ICC volunteers is filled with one use plastic, and this year is no different,” said Suzanne Stanley, JET’s Deputy CEO, “this year’s report reaffirms Jamaica’s persistent plastic problem, one which only seems to be getting worse. Plastic is non-biodegradable so not only is the problem persistent, so is the material – plastic does not naturally break down quickly when thrown away and persists in our environment for many years, often causing problems wherever it ends up.”

Other highlights of this year’s ICC report are the record volunteer turnout for the 2016 event. Although not attracting the targeted 10,000 volunteers, ICC still managed to break records for the number of Jamaicans who participated in the cleanup. In their message, main sponsors of the event the Tourism Enhancement Fund remarked how effect the ICC initiative has been “in helping to educate persons across the island about the importance of proper waste disposal and the role each of us must play in protecting our environment.”

“One of the ways all Jamaicans can help their environment is by properly managing their garbage, especially non-biodegradable waste like plastic,” said Stanley. “Reduce, Reuse and, where facilities exist, Recycle plastic waste; also ensure you put any remaining garbage in a bag and place it in a bin for collection. The better we manage our garbage on land, the less will end up on our coasts and in the ocean, where it is significantly harder to cleanup.”

The 2016 International Coastal Cleanup Day Jamaica Report can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/iccja2016

Suzanne Stanley

Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Jamaica Environment Trust
Earth Cottage, Unit 5, 123 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 8, Jamaica, W.I.
t| +1876 960 3693 m| +1876 4707580
e| sstanley.jet@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Jamaica’s Persistent Plastic Problem: JET Publishes Results of Coastal Cleanup Day 2016

  1. Emma I drove past the recycling facility on Lyndhurst road recently. The mountain of plastic bottles there caused me to wonder if that is just becoming a storage place for the plastic bottles and are they actually being recycled. Regards

    Jeanette Lewis 1 876 381 5700

    Kindly excuse any typos as this message is sent from my mobile device



    1. Hmmm. They may have been getting the bottles ready for shipment. I cannot say for sure, but do believe that they do store them up before shipping overseas for recycling. We don’t have the equipment to recycle them here in Jamaica.


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