The Rotary Club of Montego Bay hosted a Beach Clean-up on the edges of the Freeport Lagoon on International Coastal Clean-up day – Saturday 17 September 2011.
107 volunteers were in attendance at the early morning 3 hour event that started at Montego Bay’s Freeport Round-a-bout and ended at the gate of the cruise ship pier - sponsored by Cornwall Beach, CPJ, Margaritaville and Rainforest Seafood.
Organiser of the event, Rotarian Natasha Parchment-Clarke was delighted by the turn out and disgusted by the findings:
“There were children and their families from 15 different schools in and around Montego Bay – all New Generations (which is the young arm of Rotary in prep schools –EarlyAct; high schools – Interact; colleges and community based – Rotaract) were represented and they served their community amazingly.”
“We worked in partnership with the Jamaica Environment Trust and had to log details of all the garbage collected so they can send data to the Ocean Conservancy who analyses findings from international coastal clean-ups annually.
The surprising find this year was car parts – 143 of them and 89 bottles of oil. A group of children actually built a car out of the tyres, radiator, batteries, shocks, brake pads, axel, cv joints and oil filters found!
Some things were expected, but not in such high quantities:- 1,176 food containers, 1,123 pieces of plastic cutlery ; 1,794 plastic drink bottles, 682 plastic bags, 381 glass bottles; 221 metal drink cans; 184 paper bags ; 107 straws”
“It was as though we only scratched the surface – there were layers and layers of rotting garbage. We were able to pull out the non-biodegradable items, but there was years’ worth of dumped garbage in the bushes that fringe the Freeport Lagoon, of particular concern were the oil bottles – some full of dirty oil which are leaking into the lagoon”
“Our volunteers had a real learning experience and the youngest ones went away with a heightened consciousness about appropriate garbage disposal. As a gesture to be a part of the solution not the problem, signatures were collected for a pledge to “Stop using plastic bags and bottles – choosing re-usable bags and bottles instead” 111 petitioners signed up for the cause.
The event was complete by 11am and volunteers headed for another beach - not to clean it up this time, but to relax and enjoy an afternoon courtesy of Cornwall Beach who offered half price entry to any volunteer who had participated in the Rotary Club of Montego Bay's Clean-up.