Our business focuses on the conservation of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the wider mountain area and surrounding communities. However, for the business arm of our work, which helps generate income for conservation and facilitates sustainable livelihoods in the local communities, our main focus is on recreation and tourism. In 2018, we made significant improvements to the two main areas that people visit: Holywell, the main recreational area in the national park, and Portland Gap and Peak Trail. We have a close relationship with the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies. For example, Holywell is a licensed facility through the ministry and the Jamaica Tourist Board. Moreover, we have taken advantage of different trainings and other activities; it also helps us with respect to marketing. Most of the government agencies we work with have to do with conservation and environmental protection, such as the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Forestry Department. In terms of cultural heritage, we work with agencies that belong to the Ministry of Culture, including the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Apr. 6, 2019
Executive Director, Jamaica Conservation & Development Trust
Chairman, Montego Bay Marine Park
Educational programs and community service programs are our priority. We go into schools to speak about environmental issues and take school children to fishing beaches and out on a glass-bottomed boat to see the marine life. This started with 12 schools and included 40 students per month, and we had 1,000 students in 2017. In 2018, we expect the figure to be 1,500. This is becoming an important part of the school curriculum, as it exposes students to marine life and how waste affects the ocean. This has been an important aspect of youth awareness. Another accomplishment we are proud of is Coastal Clean Up Day, where our team collects nearly 70 tons of trash with about 1,000 volunteers working in collaboration with Secrets, Sandals, Island Routes, Kiwanis International, and many other schools and groups. For 2019, we would like to increase the number of park rangers. Once we gain additional funding, we shall start 24-hours patrols. Additionally, we have science officers who monitor the reefs and algae blooms. We are also documenting the condition of sea life and are working to maximize its health. Our goals for 2019 are to expand upon our existing successes.
CEO, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET)
JET has been working tirelessly on solid waste management issues for decades. In 2018, we continued to deliver environmental education and engage in advocacy on solid waste. We were successful in securing another three years of funding from the government for our popular public education campaign on solid waste management—Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica. We continue to work with the government and private sector and partner with civil society to deliver that campaign. We also expanded our International Coastal Clean Up Day activities in 2018. JET is the national coordinator of the annual beach cleanup event in Jamaica, which takes place in over 100 countries on the third Saturday in September. In 2018, we registered over 160 cleanup sites, and that number has consistently increased over the years. Also, in 2018, the country announced a ban on styrofoam food and beverage containers, single-use plastic bags below a certain size, and plastic straws. At the same time, the government's intention to address the challenge of single-use plastic bottles was announced. That was a significant victory for JET and Jamaica's environment, as we have spent many years advocating for these issues.