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Jamaica launches "Adopt a Beach" scheme to clean the island's beaches and coastline

Locals and tourists in Jamaica are being encouraged to look after the island’s coastline in a new environmental initiative launched by the National Environment and Planning Agency. The "Adopt a Beach" scheme is asking people to take action to clean up beaches in Jamaica through monthly or quarterly events to minimise marine litter and stop it from polluting the oceans and harming marine life.

Jamaica launches "Adopt a Beach" scheme to clean the island's beaches and coastline

The National Environment and Planning Agency in Jamaica is encouraging tourists, local residents and businesses to take part in a new coastal clean-up initiative. The agency has launched the “Adopt a Beach” programme to call on people of all ages to look after its beaches, coastline and sea.

The programme asks groups, individuals, communities and businesses to select beaches in Jamaica to clean up on a monthly or quarterly basis to minimise marine litter and keep it out of the oceans and off the coastlines. All participants will be given garbage bags, gloves and tools required for the clean-up.

The initiative was launched after the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) recognised the need for ongoing clean-up efforts on coastlines that stretched beyond the once-a-year International Coastal Clean-up Day.

Deleen Powell, the Public Relations Officer at the NEPA, explained:

“We do not want people to just come in and clean up the beach on that day and then forget about the issue; we want it to continue year-round.”

“So, last year, during ICCD, we spoke to people about the way that they generate waste in their daily activities and are trying to get them to avoid this kind of practice.”

Powell added:

“NEPA provides resources and technical support to the groups; we provide them with a list of possible sites that could be selected for their ‘Adopt a Beach’ initiative… so once they have selected that beach, they sign an adoption contract with NEPA agreeing to the requirements.”

Participants of the scheme must commit to adopting a beach in Jamaica for a minimum of one year. During this time, they must take part in at least four beach cleans, including the annual international coastal clean-up day.

Jamaica is a Caribbean island that is one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. The island is famous for its beautiful white sand, palm-fringed beaches, coves and bays, and its crystal-clear turquoise sea. There are approximately 50 public beaches on the island, and these are often home to luxury hotels and resorts.

The amount of marine litter, particularly plastic, is on the rise in the world’s oceans, and it is causing devastating damage to thousands of marine species, from whales, dolphins and seals, right down to the tiny fish that feed on tiny pieces of plastic that they mistake for plankton. Regular beach and ocean cleaning events help reduce this debris, and helps protects the marine creatures. 

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