The Old Hospital Park Beach in Montego Bay, St. James was abuzz with activity on the morning of Saturday July 3, 2021 as the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) hosted the final Circular Seas beach cleanup in collaboration with Coca-Cola Jamaica and Ocean Conservancy, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation.
“These cleanup activities are not only important for removing waste from the environment, but also for raising public awareness of poor solid waste management practices,” said Lauren Creary, JET Programme Director. Despite the threat of Hurricane Elsa, nearly 40 volunteers were able to collect over 30 large bags of garbage from the beach. “We are pleased with the turn out despite concerns that the activity would be cancelled due to inclement weather,” she continued.
This cleanup held at the Old Hospital Park Beach marks the third and final cleanup under the Circular Seas project. The first two cleanup activities were held at the Palisadoes Go-Kart Track on April 17, 2021 and at Barmouth Beach in St Catherine on June 12, 2021. A total of over 75 volunteers collected 108 bags of garbage weighing approximately over 1600 lbs from Jamaican coastlines across. The majority of garbage collected at these Circular Seas cleanups were plastic bottles.
These cleanups were possible through the support of not only the Coca-Cola Foundation, but also volunteers from several school and service groups from various parishes, such as Operation Help the People and The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust. Teachers from Barracks Road and Corinaldi Primary Schools, long time participants in JET’s Schools Environment Programme (SEP), also participated in this initiative.
We must aim to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment through our activities. “As the entertainment sector is reopening and curfew hours relaxed we can expect more persons using the beach and this will result in more depositing of garbage along the coastline. So this cleanup effort is appreciated,” said Sharlinda Forrester, Education and Outreach officer of the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust.
The Circular Seas Initiative aims to reduce waste in the natural environment, encourage recycling of plastics and collect data to be used towards important solid waste management decisions. “We are excited about our support of this coastal cleanup program, which contributes to a culture of recycling through tangible cleanup and awareness actions to reduce marine pollution and debris,” said Beatriz R. Perez, Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation.