Beaches – and our access to them – are on the agenda again. We heard that Fort Clarence Beach in St. Catherine (a favorite chill spot of ours, back in the day) is to be “taken over” by a private company, who are leasing it from the government agency Urban Development Corporation (UDC), beginning September 1, for 25 years. This is the same company that now operates Puerto Seco Beach in St. Ann, where captive dolphins are now installed to entertain visitors.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Environment Trust has launched the International Coastal Cleanup Day (Saturday, September 21) and is shining a light on – you’ve guessed it – the state of our beaches. Here’s their press release:
‘Big Up Wi Beach’ on International Coastal Cleanup Day – says JET
The Y-Knot Marina in Port Royal, Kingston was abuzz with activity on the morning of August 29, 2019 as the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) staged the launch of its 2019 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day Jamaica activities and showcased the latest from its Better Beaches for Jamaicans (BBFJ) project. The launch featured an exhibition of photography captured during JET’s recent survey of 132 publicly accessible Jamaican beaches under the BBFJ project, and the reveal of JET’s new Big Up Wi Beach JA website (www.bigupwibeachja.org), which showcases the findings on the ecological health and management of the beaches surveyed.
“Big Up Wi Beach JA has been chosen as a theme for International Coastal Cleanup Day in Jamaica this year,” said Tamoy Singh Clarke, JET’s Programme Director. Big Up Wi Beach JA is also a public education campaign under the BBFJ project, which has been funded by the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation since 2016. “Both ICC and Big Up Wi Beach are really about promoting better stewardship of Jamaica’s beaches – better management of solid waste, and protection of the beach environment,” said Clarke.
JET has registered a record 190 beach cleanups for this year’s ICC event, which will take place at beaches across the island on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Last year, Jamaica was ranked as the 17th largest ICC event in the world; 101 groups led 150 cleanups across the island, with a turnout of over 9500 volunteers, who cleaned up over 104,000 pounds of garbage from Jamaican beaches.
JET is the national coordinator of ICC in Jamaica, which has been funded locally by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) since 2008. Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), Protex and JPS Foundation have also joined TEF as sponsors of ICC Jamaica activities in 2019. In his remarks at the launch, Dr Carey Wallace, Executive Director of TEF applauded JET for their hard work put into growing International Coastal Cleanup Day in Jamaica. “When TEF started funding International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2008 JET had 32 cleanups, by last year that number had grown to 150 and we look forward to an even bigger turn out this year,” he said.
JET’s CEO, Suzanne Stanley explained that it was JET’s experience delivering ICC Day over the past decade which led to them to identify many of the publicly accessible beaches featured on the Big Up Wi Beach JA website, as well as the local partners who helped administer the beach surveys – many of whom are ICC site coordinators. “The importance of local knowledge for understanding and protecting our environment cannot be stressed enough,” said Suzanne Stanley, JET’s CEO. “Both these projects give JET important information on the state of Jamaica’s beaches to inform our public education and advocacy campaigns.”
A summary report highlighting the major findings of JET’s BBFJ beach survey can be found here: https://bit.ly/2PmvELa