Make recycling a way of life – Dr Spencer
As the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo) continues to drive home the importance of recycling plastic bottles to resort communities island-wide, the Sandy Bank Primary School has taken top honours in the Treasure Beach leg of a recycling competition.
Of a total of 264,700 plastic bottles collected by six schools in the competition, Sandy Bank bagged 132,725 to receive the main prize from Executive Director of TPDCo, Dr Andrew Spencer at an awards ceremony held yesterday at BREDS Sports Park in Treasure Beach.
Dr Spencer pointed out that “We have a number of destination areas in Jamaica that allow tourism to happen to them, and so the planners are grappling with the idea of how to have remedial action to deal with some of the issues so that we can then plan for the next 20 years.”
Showering praises on the Treasure Beach community as a model for how it has embraced the competition and taking the message from the roots by involving students from the basic schools level to adult residents, Dr Spencer said this was helping in environmental stewardship. He underscored that every single bottle collected “has taken us one step closer to creating a better community, a better Jamaica and a better world.”
Directing his remarks at the children in particular, Dr Spencer told them that everything they did to help with environmental stewardship helped the world that they and their children would be living in, “so don’t take it lightly that the over 264,000 bottles that you have collected is making an impact in our society.”
Underscoring that they were involved in something that was more than a competition, Dr Spencer described recycling as “a programme for the future that we must see as a way of life; it has to be a cultural thing.”
He implored participants to be prepared to be agents of change in their society “It’s difficult to be an agent of change and too few Jamaicans are interested in being that agent of change: the person who will stand out and be different, who will do the right even when others are doing the wrong thing; the person who is willing to say, when someone drops something on the ground, pick it up because we’re taking ownership of, our community, our tourism product and our country.”
Noting that humans were the cause of problems faced, Dr Spencer stated, “The way we develop; the way we conduct our affairs at home, at school, at play, is what causes our environment to be in the state that it is.” He added, “And talking about tourism, if we’re not careful we won’t have a tourism product to brag about in a few years if we don’t live responsibly.”
He congratulated all the participating schools and called upon the students to take the practice of recycling into their homes and convince their peers and parents of its value to everyone.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Principal of Sandy Bank Primary School, Opal Alexander said she welcomed the partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, through TPDCo, and the schools in Treasure Beach, noting that it caused the children to care for the community and “has been a great experience for all persons involved.”
She said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it (but) we have to do our part to protect Mother Earth.”
The event was also supported by Recycling Partners of Jamaica, Destination Management Company, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and Southern Parks and Markets. Tarah Bryan of Recycling Partners said it had been operating since 2014 in partnership with a number of public and private sector entities and since then “we have collected over 4.8 million pounds of plastic bottles through the implementation of our Recycle Now Jamaica Project in schools, communities and industries.”
Other awardees in the recycling competition included Pedro Plains Primary School which placed second with a collection of 85,325 bottles; Pedro Plains Infant School collected 36,100 to place third and Little Fish Basic School 10,550 bottles for fourth place. Certificates were also presented to Swaby’s Plaza, Jack Sprat Restaurant, Kingfisher Plaza, Billy’s Bay Gospel Church Great Bay and BREDS Sports Bar for their participation as recycling hubs.