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Jamaica and plastic ocean trash

March 04 2013 | Plastics, Water Quality,

I caught up with our friends in Jamaica who are in the process of forming Surfrider Jamaica. I asked Carlette Falloon, one of the on-island locals, to fill us in on what is hapening there. 

Jim: Plastic trash is entering the oceans everywhere and these pics show one more location, Jamaica. Carlette, what are we looking at in these photos?

Carlette: What we are seeing is discarded items such as old car tires, old bicycles, household waste... particularly plastic and used diapers. The community members were supportive of the activity as one of their main concerns is the lack of garbage collection by the Parish Council. The only alternatives they currently have are to throw the waste into the sea, or to burn it.

J: So, Surfrider Jamaica is about to be live online (which we're stoked about). What are your plans in Jamaica?

Carlette: Surfrider Foundation Jamaica will be conducting beach clean ups on the island and rolling out a Scandal-Free Bag campaign within the year.  We will also be raising awareness about littering, burning of trash and reduction of single use plastics.

J: Great. So, paint the picture for us. Is it as simple as "lots of plastic entering the local waters?" 

Carlette: No, it is not that simple.

Plastic is one of the most common items that enter the waterways but a lot of domestic, recreational and even industrial waste are discarded in this manner. A lot of flooding takes place as a result of clogged drains. This costs million of dollars to fix each year. A lot of upgrading and resources are required to improve garbage collection locally. This can greatly improve the potential for an efficient national recycling program.

J: Thanks so much for your work there Carlette. Can you share with us what your goals are? What would success start to look like in Jamaica?

Carlette: The national and political will to improve garbage collection, to enforce the National Solid Waste Management Act and begin a national campaign focused around recyling and a reduction in the use of non-biodegradable items.

That makes total sense. It really does come down to the national and political will to make improvements, keep plastics out of the ocean, and to create a larger national campaign. The best of luck in your upcoming efforts. 

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