WESTMORELAND, JAMAICA (November 2021): The Old Bay Fishing beach in Whitehouse, Westmoreland now has a new look thanks to the efforts of Sandals Foundation volunteers from Sandals South Coast. The occasion was yet another International Coastal Cleanup activity, this time along Jamaica’s Southeast coast.
Said to be the largest one day volunteer events in the world, every year on September 21, thousands of people gather for International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day to participate in activities geared at keeping our ocean’s clean and healthy. This year however, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on group gatherings etc., the usual date and format of the popular volunteer event saw some changes.
“At the Sandals Foundation we are dedicated to environmental preservation, and as such each year our droves of volunteers – both Resort Team Members and Community partners – look forward to this activity with much anticipation,” said Patrice Gilpin, Public Relations Manager at the Sandals Foundation. “We were extremely elated when we learned that JET decided to push ahead with the activity at a later stage.”
“Albeit smaller numbers, our Team was happy to come out and participate in Friday morning’s activity, of course with carefully observed COVID-19 protocols in place,” said Rochelle Forbes, Public Relations Manager for Sandals South Coast. “Together our team collected 22 bags containing over 315 pounds of debris from the shores of the Old Bay fishing beach.”
She noted that among the items retrieved were plastic and glass bottles, card board boxes, fan pieces, sandbags and paint cans.
Diego Salmon, Manager for the Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary noted that the Old Bay Fishing Beach, which is right on the boundary of the Sanctuary, has historically been one of the cleanest beaches in the area; however the condition of the beach has deteriorated over the years. “We were happy to come in and offer a helping hand in cleaning up the beach while encouraging the users of this beach to be more conscious of the environmental impacts of their practices,” said Salmon.
“As a Sandals Foundation volunteer and also a citizen of the Whitehouse community, I felt very good participating in this activity because I know the area really needs efforts such as these and this was my way of giving back not only to my community but to the environment,” said Shonique Powell, from the accounts department at Sandals South Coast.
Powell, whose first time it was participating in an International Coastal Cleanup activity, said she was very thankful for the opportunity it presented but also noted that this activity is an extension of the resort’s ongoing efforts to maintain a clean and healthy environment. “At least once a month our resort conducts similar beach and roadside cleanup activities.”
Through this annual event, the Ocean Conservancy hopes to spread awareness and encourage everyone to stop incorrect garbage disposal at the source, the Sandals Foundation completely supports this. Since its inception in 2009, the Sandals Foundation has collected over 60,000 pounds of debris from Caribbean coastlines.