Yesterday for Jamaica’s Annual Labour Day, the Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council partnered with the Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) Agents to execute a number of projects in the Portmore region. We were also joined by some members from the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN). The theme for Labour Day 2017 islandwide was “Restore, Preserve, Beautify” so we worked together to help restore, preserve and beautify the environment in this community.
We kicked off the day by cleaning a large drain located near Megamart in Portmore. Although recent rains had turned the drain into a slow moving river of garbage, our team worked really hard to remove all the garbage, and collect the plastic for recycling. Drain cleaning is a step that community members can take to build resilience to the effects of climate change. Changing weather patterns are expected to cause increased flooding over time, and the collection of this stagnant water also serves as the perfect breeding site for mosquitoes – which of course can spread dangerous diseases. Additionally, underground water systems can be contaminated by ineffective drainage mechanisms. By clearing up drains and allowing wastewater to flow unobstructed, we can reduce flooding in these communities, and help address these other issues.
After this we took a quick trip to Rodney’s Arm historical site along the hills of Forum to visit the Portmore Municipal Council at their Labour Day project. They were working in conjunction with the Deputy Mayor and citizens from the city of Hagen in Germany to clean up the landscape near the historical site. This project is the start of a larger undertaking to completely restore and beautify the area, and make it into a tourist attraction. We also had a chat with the Mayor of Portmore about how youth can become more involved in Climate Change, and working together to finish the Portmore Climate Change Park by next year. The Park is a collaborative effort with the government of Germany, and will include a recycling centre, water treatment centre, and other super cool innovative displays to educated citizens about climate change.
After a break for lunch, we resumed at the Portmore Youth Information Centre for tree planting. We planted a number of shady trees at the Youth Information Centre and by the Edgewater Community Centre. Some of the trees included Blue Mahoe, Cassia, Almond and Pouis. Tree planting is a great step in building climate resilience. Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe. Not only are we adding a green plant to the atmosphere to absorb some of the excess CO2 that’s threatening our environment, but trees also improve soil and air quality by filtering harmful dust and pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide from the air we breathe. Trees also provide food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals, and don’t forget, shade for us.
We capped off the day with fellowship and discussion, including a symbolic shirt exchange from the MACC agents to our team. We are super excited to have an extended family in MACC and the CYEN, and we’re even more excited for all the projects we’ll be undertaking in the future.