International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day takes place on the third Saturday in September every year, and is the largest one-day volunteer event in the world. For over three decades, the Ocean Conservancy in Texas has been coordinating volunteers across the globe to collect millions of pounds of trash in over 100 countries.
When Jamaica first joined the ICC movement in the mid-1990s, cleanups were generally small, and took place in only a few locations across the island. In 2008, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) became national coordinators of ICC activities in Jamaica, and gained the support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) as the project’s primary donor. That year, with TEF’s support and JET’s outreach, 27 groups coordinated 1,800 volunteers to clean up 34 beaches across the island. Since 2008, the event has grown by leaps and bounds, attracting over 9,000 volunteers annually to cleanup over 140 beaches islandwide.
ICC is not only an exercise in building environmental awareness; data is also gathered by volunteers on the types and quantities of waste collected from our beaches. The data, which is collected from site coordinators and tabulated by JET, is sent to the Ocean Conservancy in the USA, which then creates an annual marine debris report. This report is used by the Ocean Conservancy in international lobbying efforts aimed at improving waste management practices globally, thereby reducing the impacts of marine debris on coastal ecosystems.
JET also produces a national summary report which is circulated to various ICC stakeholders, including government ministers and agencies, manufacturers and distributors of plastic products, and is also used in our environmental education programmes. Click on the following link to view the most recent National Summary report for ICC activities in Jamaica: International Coastal Cleanup Day Jamaica 2019 National Report. The complete 2019 ICC Jamaica dataset can be downloaded here.