KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is undertaking a solid waste management initiative in underserved communities across the island aimed at improving environmental practices and facilitating the conversion of waste into income.
Under the initiative, 30 communities spanning seven parishes have been exposed to waste separation, recycling and composting techniques and provided with the necessary equipment to keep their communities and environment clean.
The parishes are Clarendon, Kingston, St Andrew, St Ann, St Catherine, St James and Westmoreland.
Systems Operation and Environment Manager at JSIF, Dr Milton Clarke, said there is a “significant issue with solid waste, especially in our underserved communities”.
“So JSIF deliberately developed an initiative where we looked at improving the solid-waste infrastructure in these communities, institutional strengthening of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) enforcement measures and means of changing attitudes and behaviour,” he further noted.
Milton, who was addressing a JIS Think Tank yesterday, said that over the past year, JSIF has constructed approximately 120 concrete enclosures for containment of waste in the communities.
Thirty of these are being used as recycling units, another 30 as composting facilities and the remainder as general waste-storage units.
He noted that the composting units allow persons to convert their organic waste, such as banana peels or grass, into organic fertiliser, while the recycling units provide for the storage of plastic bottles.
“So, the recyclable plastics that usually go to the disposal sites can now be converted into income and the organic waste can be converted into organic fertiliser, which can be sold or used at home and in the schools,” Dr Clarke pointed out.
He told JIS News that JSIF has also procured and distributed 2,281 colour-coded bins in the 30 communities to improve solid-waste management.
In addition, two wood chippers have been purchased to foster entrepreneurship through the conversion of bulky and otherwise unusable organic waste into products that can be packaged and marketed.
JSIF will also be providing the NSWMA with four trucks to improve garbage collection. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the entity for the collection of waste from the communities at least twice per week.
In terms of enforcement, JSIF has trained 160 community members to be environmental wardens. The enforcement officers have been gazetted under the NSWMA Act and are responsible for enforcing environmental laws across the country, but particularly in their communities.
JSIF’s solid waste management initiative also comprises a social marketing component, which will see consultants conducting research in the targeted communities and developing strategies to help change behaviour, attitude and overall perception as it relates to solid-waste management.
The structure and magnitude of the waste-separation project is the first of its kind in Jamaica. The initiative is being implemented in partnership with the NSWMA, Recycling Partners of Jamaica and the 30 communities involved.
It is estimated that approximately 140,000 persons will benefit directly from the project, which the entire island to gain from the positive environmental impact.