The plastic recycling pilot project that has been launched in Rae Town, Kingston, will seek to reduce the volume of waste entering the harbour and provide income-generating opportunities for community members.
The two-year project is being implemented by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and funded by the Japanese Government through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at a cost of US$291,000.
This initiative is part of the wider Plastic Waste Minimisation Project, which is being driven by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Speaking at the launch of the project on Wednesday (Oct. 30), at the Courtyard by Marriott in New Kingston, Director of NEPA’s Planning, Projects Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Division, Ainsworth Carrol, said a critical component is community engagement.
“Communities need to be engaged with the environmental agenda. There are two major objectives of this project – to reduce the number of plastic waste entering the marine environment, and to create alternative livelihoods from recycled plastics,” Carroll explained.
“The project is a very good one. It is also aligned to where Jamaica wants to be as a country. We have some broad development goals, which align with Vision 2030. These goals speak of Jamaica having a healthy natural environment and the Jamaican economy being prosperous. What you do at the community level affects our environment,” he added.
Carroll noted that the project would be replicated in other communities across the island in the future.
For his part, Executive Director of the NSWMA Audley Gordon thanked the Japanese Government for its contribution to the project.
“We are eternally grateful to the Japanese Government for the friendship, cooperation and the investment that they continue to make in the environment in [good] solid waste management practices and the training of our people. We stand ready to go into other communities. Let this be the start of a journey that will rid our coastlines of the debris that is destroying our marine life,” he said.
Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Takeshi Takano, commended NEPA and NSWMA and other partners and stakeholders for the timely launch of the pilot project.
“We all know the devastating impact of improper waste disposal. We are confident that the objective of the project will be achieved…of reducing marine litter from plastics generated from land-based activities. It is hoped that the Rae Town plastic recycling pilot project will be replicated and scaled up in other communities in due course,” he said.
Other project partners include the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Social Development Commission (SDC) and the National Works Agency (NWA).