Just as I was wondering whether Jamaica’s International Coastal Cleanup Day would be possible this year, the coordinators, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), informed us that it will take place – keeping COVID-19 protocols strictly in mind. And, as I noted in the previous blog post, technology is playing a part in this time of the pandemic, with a special app that can be used. For more information, please call or email JET.
Last year, an amazing 12,400 volunteers turned out for ICC in Jamaica. I will miss the huge community support and energetic atmosphere at the 2019 clean up near Kingston, which was sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ) and many other partners. But – let’s get down to it and do our best! Here is JET’s press release:
National coordinator of International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day in Jamaica, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Lauren Creary, has confirmed that its annual cleanup event will be staged in 2020. ICC Day typically involves thousands of volunteers turning out to remove garbage from Jamaica’s coastline; however this year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Jamaica, JET has indicated that cleanup activities will be scaled down to comply with Government of Jamaica (GOJ) protocols for public gatherings.
“Our paramount concern is for the health and safety of our ICC volunteers, site coordinators and JET staff involved in staging the event,” said Lauren Creary, Project Coordinator at JET. “We will be mandating that all ICC events should be as small as possible – no more than 20 people per cleanup site – pending any further changes to the restrictions on public gatherings. Volunteers must also be equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus,” she continued. In keeping with the new format of ICC Jamaica, JET has also indicated that it will not host its large flagship cleanup this year, which typically attracts over a thousand volunteers to its cleanup site on the Palisadoes in Kingston.
As well as restricting the size of events, another change to the ICC format this year will be the way cleanup data is collected by volunteers. This year, JET will offer online training sessions on how to record ICC data using the Clean Swell® mobile app. The app, which was developed by global ICC coordinators the Ocean Conservancy, allows volunteers to record details of the type and quantity of garbage they collect on ICC Day, with or without mobile data. In previous years, ICC volunteers filled out hard copy data cards, which were tabulated by site coordinators and entered by JET in the Ocean Conservancy’s online database. “The app allows us to skip those steps this year,” said Ms. Creary; “Covid-19 has even taken beach cleanups online.”
The time frame during which cleanups can take place has also been extended by JET. “ICC is always a one-day event on the third Saturday in September each year, but this year we will register cleanups to take place throughout the months of September and October to allow for greater participation from the public,” said Ms. Creary. JET’s online registration of 2020 ICC Jamaica events will open on August 3, 2020 and close on August 25, 2020.
In 2019 thanks to the support of sponsors the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ) and many other stakeholders, JET hit its longstanding target of attracting over 10,000 volunteers to ICC. Last year over 12,400 Jamaican volunteers turned out to 182 cleanup sites across the island and collected 9,225 bags of garbage weighing an estimated 146,000 pounds.
TEF has confirmed it will continue its support of ICC activities in 2020, which will be held under the theme – Keep Wi Island Clean. “Despite the challenges associated with hosting ICC this year, we are committed to spreading the message of the importance of keeping our environment clean, which has even greater significance as we tackle a public health crisis like Covid-19” said Dr Carey Wallace, Executive Director at TEF.