JSIF waste management champs

THE Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) was yesterday named winner of the 2013 Jamaica Environmental Action Award (JEAA) in the waste management category.

JEAA, launched in 2010, seeks to reward outstanding groups and individuals who have demonstrated innovative efforts aimed at protecting and preserving the island’s natural environment.

Executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority Jennifer Edwards sits in the driver’s seat of a garbage truck presented to the agency by JSIF, recently. Also pictured are Scarlette Gillings, managing director of JSIF and World Bank representative Giorgio Valentini.
JSIF donated 55 skips to the NSWMA for garbage disposal.

Scarlette Gillings, managing director of JSIF, said the award served as confirmation of the value of the work done by the Fund to create sustainable systems with minimal environmental impact in the communities served. As an ISO 14001:2004 certified organisation, one of its chief mandates is to advance environmental stewardship by contributing to environmental protection, pollution prevention and efficient use of resources.

“Solid waste management is one of those key problem areas that the JSIF has targeted for improvement and has implemented several key interventions by expending millions of dollars under the World Bank funded Inner-City Basic Services Project (ICBSP) in an effort to improve target communities. The issue of solid waste management is a significant national challenge,” Gillings said.

Referencing 2006 government statistics, JSIF said Jamaicans produce approximately two kilogrammes of waste daily.

“It is reported that only 70 per cent of the household waste generated by residents is collected by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), while the other 30 per cent is disposed of in gullies and rivers, on the streets and private properties, or by burying and burning.

“These illegal activities have contributed significantly to the pollution of our coastline, ground and surface water systems, and air,” it said in a statement released yesterday.

JSIF has partnered with the NSWMA on an integrated waste management project which includes the provision of infrastructure for waste containment and storage, increasing environmental awareness of residents, as well as training and certification of community environmental wardens, with a view to reducing pollution and improving environmental sustainability.

Under the project, JSIF financed the procurement of a garbage compactor valued at approximately $11 million, 55 skips and 100 drums for temporary storage of household garbage. It also paid for the construction of skip enclosures in the 12 ICBSP communities, as well as training of 35 community members as environmental wardens.

In addition, under the PetroCaribe Development Fund, JSIF has implemented several sanitation projects aimed at managing human waste. It has implemented sanitation projects in several inner-city communities in Western and Central Kingston, impacting more than 2,000 direct beneficiaries. JSIF has also funded upgraded toilets and sanitation systems in 26 schools across the island.

Work has also been done under the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) project portfolio, through which JSIF has funded the construction of bio-gas digesters at four pig-rearing facilities in order to manage farm waste, reduce pollution and ultimately to convert agricultural waste to energy.