The restoration of the Kingston Harbour has been a long-standing area of focus for the GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF). Accordingly, each year the Foundation coordinates beach clean-ups along the Kingston Harbour coastline. This year, GKF’s annual clean-up series took place on September 10 and 17 respectively.

The first clean-up on September 10, saw over 200 GK staff and their families, GK scholars, members of Kingston Church of Christ, Tornadoes Swim Club and teachers, and students and parents of Hopefield Prep, turn out to clean up Gun Boat Beach on the Palisadoes strip in Kingston.

Gail Moss-Solomon, General Counsel & Chief Corporate Secretary of GraceKennedy Limited, volunteered at the clean-up with her daughter, Sierra. Mrs. Moss-Solomon explained that she attends the clean-up activity annually with her daughters. “It’s important to do whatever we can to save mankind. GraceKennedy has been committed for many years to being kind to the environment and has solidified its commitment by ensuring that ESG is a key pillar in our 2030 vision,” she added.

GKF Scholar Greame Reid (far left) with members of the Grace Foods & Services Team at GKF’s annual beach cleanup activity on Saturday, September 10 at Gun Boat Beach, Palisadoes. Photo: Khristina Godfrey

Oliver Tomlinson, Acting CEO of Canopy Insurance commented, “This is my first beach clean-up and it is an amazing experience, a huge eye opener. I had no idea there was so much waste on the coastline, we are damaging the environment and we cannot continue like this.”

“I really feel sad for all the animals living in the mangroves after seeing all those plastic bottles that have washed ashore,” commented Ria Maragh, a grade six student at Hopefield Prep.

In 2 hours, the volunteers had collected approximately 32,000 pounds of waste from the site, including 2,272 pounds of plastics and 29,374 pounds of other waste.

A group of volunteers recording and separating the waste at GKF’s annual beach cleanup activity on Saturday, September 10 at Gun Boat beach, Palisadoes. Photo: Khristina Godfrey

GKF’s second clean-up on September 17 took place under its Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project, at the Sirgany Beach in Rockfort, East Kingston. Coinciding with International Clean Up Day, it was the project’s sixth clean-up initiative along the Harbour coastline this year. The clean-up attracted over 315 volunteers from several businesses and institutions, including the JN Foundation, The Heart Trust/NTA, Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd, Jamaica Customs Agency, Newport-Fersan Jamaica Ltd, Digicel Foundation, The University of the West Indies, The University of Technology, Excelsior Community College and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ). Over 6,200 pounds of waste was removed from the shoreline by the volunteers.

A volunteer from Newport-Fersan Jamaica Ltd picks up plastic bottles along Sirgany Beach on Saturday. She was among more than 310 volunteers organised by the Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project on International Coastal Clean-up Day, September 17. Photo: Khristina Godfrey

Zaria Malcom-Walker, Vice Principal of Academic Affairs and Institutional Advancement at Excelsior Community College, who volunteered at the September 17 clean-up commented that the activity was not only an opportunity to collect garbage, but an avenue to spread awareness about the impacts of improper waste disposal practices. “Jamaicans need to be more aware of how we can take care of our environment… it will benefit us in the long run – our country, our citizens and our children,” she said.

Another volunteer, Amarni Gomes, Hall Chairman of the George Alleyne Hall at the University of the West Indies, and native Antiguan, urged all Caribbean people to care for their environment. “As Caribbean nations, we are often limited by our resources, as many of our countries are small …but in many cases we are directly impacted [by pollution]. If we want to bring people to our country for tourism or to invest, we need to take care of what we have,” he said.