TEF's executive director underscores need to safeguard environment

… as Holland High wins TEF-sponsored SDAA recycling competition

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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MARTHA BRAE, Trelawny — The importance of safeguarding the environment was underscored by executive director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr Carey Wallace, at the official opening of a computer room furnished with 27 laptops and other computer equipment, valued at $2.5 million, at the Holland High School in Martha Brae recently. The computer room has also been outfitted with a projector and screen.

Dr Wallace challenged the high school students who collectively earned the reward by placing first in the recent Tourism Enhancement Fund-sponsored Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas (SDAA) recycling competition in the Falmouth area, to influence the community to protect the environment,

“You students have a responsibility that is bigger than yourselves, because you are trying to change a pattern of behaviour that's been habitual over generations and here you are now, the enlightened ones, needing to influence your own parents, your own community to change their habits and start practising the new habit,” Wallace told the gathering of students and invited guests.

Reminding them that it was their country and their future that was being protected, he underscored that “it is in your interest to make sure you are ambassadors for that change, so I charge you to think beyond just the school, the competition and in your own communities and try to influence the people around you”.

Over 4,000 students from five schools participated in the Falmouth leg of the competition, with the tagline, “Go Green and Win Big,” aimed at engaging children and broadening the reach of solid waste management in Falmouth.

Although not using plastic bottles on its campus, led by their Tourism Action Club coordinator, Aishea Lawrence Reid, Holland High, collected more than 50 per cent of the total of 247 bags of plastic bottles weighing 1,694 pounds in and around their community over four weekends.

Dr Wallace, who said he was very impressed by the cleanliness and ambiance of the school, the show of hospitality by students and staff, assured them that “Falmouth, and Trelawny overall, are going to be the model for Jamaica”.

“Having emerged as a resort town, much attention was being given to uplifting the infrastructure in Falmouth, but money is not all, and it is up to the people to make it happen,” he argued.

In his greetings read by Andrew Harrison, the CEO of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager, also shared the view that “Holland is a force to be reckoned with since its inception in 2004,” adding that winning the recycling competition was just one of its many achievements.

Chairman of the Holland High School Board, Fr Carl F Clarke lauded the positive image built up by the school with its accomplishments in such a short time, noting that the school entered the competition “to do good for the community” adding that winning was in keeping with its hallmark of excellence. Trelawny Custos Paul Muschett also commended the Ministry of Tourism for running the recycling programme, and had high praises for Holland High on winning.

Support for the competition was also received from Recycle Jamaica, the Organisation of American States, the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, National Solid Waste Management Authority and the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce.

With its partners, the TEF also sponsored recycling competitions in Negril, Westmoreland, and Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth.

Participating schools in all three targeted areas collected over 275,400 plastic bottles.

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