The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is reminding Jamaicans that all life on earth is interconnected and as such, everyone has a responsibility to help safeguard the environment.
The reminder comes as NEPA concludes activities to mark National Environmental Awareness Week 2022, which ran from June 1 to 8.
The week saw the observance of World Environment Day on June 5, under the theme ‘Only One Earth’ and placed emphasis on the need for personal and collective action to protect and restore the planet.
Monique Curtis, manager of NEPA’s Ecosystems Management Branch, in noting the interconnectedness of life on earth, stated: “As much as we take it for granted, what you throw in a gully in your terrestrial
environment can actually end up on the coastline in Jamaica or in another country. That shows you the level of connectivity and why your actions can contribute to this ‘one world’ concept”.
Jamaica has joined countries across the globe in taking action against activities that have a negative impact on health and the environment, including signing conventions to reduce the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
Campaigns and programmes have been undertaken to make persons more aware of how their daily actions can contribute to maintaining a healthy environment.
Some of these target waste management and plastic minimisation, including the ban on single-use
plastics, where Jamaica has made marked progress.
Additionally, the designation of the Blue and John Crow Mountains as a Protected National Heritage Site in 2014, ahead of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2015, is a key achievement on a national level.
There are almost 300 protected areas across Jamaica, with the newest additions being the Cockpit Country Protected Area and the Black River Protected Area.
The protected areas are managed by NEPA, the Forestry Department, the Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) in partnership with non-governmental organisations.
On a more granular level, the Environmental Management and Conservation Division of NEPA has the responsibility for environment conservation and protection and environmental management, which looks at air quality, pollution prevention and water quality tracking and monitoring.
The Ecosystems Management Branch in the Division conducts activities related to beach management and monitoring, coastal and marine resources monitoring, species conservation and watershed management.
Since human activities can affect the balance or instability of plant and animal life it is, therefore, important for each person to recognise that there is ‘Only one Earth’.