It’s a well-known fact that the earth is changing, and unfortunately, it’s not all positive. Over the past few centuries, technological advances and inventions have given rise to climatic changes and pollution. Although we have made advances with plumbing, electrical work and an overall convenient lifestyle, we have simply forgotten the importance of proper disposal of items such as plastic.
It’s a shame to walk along a coastline littered with plastic bottles, bags and other packaging items, and although Jamaica has made the decision to ban single use plastic items, as individuals we can improve. These practices although they don’t always seem to impact us directly, have dire consequences down the road if we don’t curb our behavior. Tourism for instance, which is Jamaica’s leading sector and highest earner, depends on certain features to continue on a path of success.
It goes without saying that no one would like to visit a resort or beach filled with garbage. Imagine travelling to a community to stay and find it overrun with faulty drains and scents due to improper disposal of garbage. Think about a Jamaica without trees due to de- forestation and soil erosion, what if Montego Bay had smoke so thick it resembled an overcast day every day.
It’s not only about beauty, it’s also our well-being. COVID-19 has changed our lives drastically, and although the progress seems slow, we know that someday we will return to normality. However, if we do not start thinking about our environment, then we might have to resort to a life without clean fresh air and water.
It is important for tourism that we move to a conscious state of mind. As small as we may think we are as individuals, we can make an impact. Throwing a gum wrapper or plastic bottle through the car window seems insignificant but holding it until it can be properly disposed of is necessary to help spark change within ourselves and others.
A 2019 survey by booking.com revealed that “70% of global travelers are more likely to book an accommodation knowing it is eco-friendly, which usually means more green practices, thereby reducing chances of pollution.” People are taking it seriously, and for tourism to be sustainable, it includes care of our environs, which in turn is taking care of ourselves.
Recently, TPDCo handed over a box truck valued at 7 million dollars to the Recycling Partners of Jamaica for their efforts of reducing pollution, and to help the process of collecting plastics. This partnership is important for the tourism sector and the entire Jamaica.
After you’ve completed this reading, close your eyes and imagine somewhere you’d love to be in Jamaica. For me, its somewhere in the hills, like Holywell. The air is fresh and crisp, the sound beneath my feet is that of dried leaves crunching against the press of my shoes, a gentle breeze rustles against my face. Behind my closed lids I can see the rich green trees against the light blue of the sky, the clouds pass by slowly, as if they are moving with me, a pace that indicates no rush or stress- carefree.
The birds are soaring through the air, and their chirps faint away until the only sound is that of silence. My feet suddenly go cold, its water from the spring, straight from the source- clean, pure and fresh. I end the day watching the sunset don garments of pink and orange until she is no more, and a chorale of crickets and fireflies (peeny wallie) provide an, although not requested, but appreciated encore.
Is this Heaven? No, it’s Jamaica, a sustainable and clean one.