JSIF/NSWMA wardens to police environment


THIRTY-four Jamaicans last Wednesday — World Environment Day — were invested with the authority to reprimand individuals across the island caught littering their communities.

They were declared environmental wardens after having completed several phases of the Inner-City Basic Services Project’s (ICBSP) sustainable waste management training programme implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) in collaboration with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).

The newly ordained environmental wardens after their graduation from JSIF’s Sustainable Waste Management Training Project in Federal Gardens, Wednesday. (PHOTO: KARL MCLARTY)

At the graduation at the Federal Gardens Community Centre in Trench Town, Kingston, JSIF’s general manager of human resource and communications Rhonda Lumsden-Lue said that the wardens, whose training was partially funded by the organisation at the cost of approximately $11.6 million, are necessary as the need to address pollution in our 14 parishes increases.

“The project is aimed at improving the aesthetics of the communities of the participants while seeking to change the behaviour of the community members where garbage collection and disposal are concerned,” she said.

Their training and certification qualifies them to become gazetted officers empowered by law in the enforcement of the NSWMA Act and Regulations.

“The pile up of garbage (in communities across Jamaica) provides a haven for rats and other pests which poses a serious health risk for members in the communities. Inaccessible lanes make it difficult for trucks to have easy access to garbage collection sites. As such, the recommendation is that community residents should take their solid waste to the various communal receptacles. The burning of solid waste due to non-collection or infrequent collection poses a health risk especially for those who suffer from respiratory illnesses. These are the conditions which our wardens will seek to help the NSWMA to reverse,” said Lumsden-Lue.

“Non-compliance and non-enforcement of solid waste management operations within the 12 ICBSP communities is currently affecting the health and well-being of all age groups, children, the disabled and the elderly service providers inside the targeted areas,” Lumsden-Lue added.

Also present at the awards ceremony was Colin Fagan, minister of state in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

He applauded the graduates for joining the fight to protect and preserve the environment.

“The environment is something I hold very close to my heart. The environment must be protected at all costs. The onus is now placed on you with the expertise you now have to follow through,” Fagan said.

The wardens are expected to promote and propagate environmentally sustainable ideas such as recycling, composting, proper sanitation, general solid waste management practices, pollution prevention and management of hazardous waste, which were taught in the programme.

They are also responsible for promoting environmental awareness in an effort to change the behaviour of the community with regard to waste management.

In addition, the wardens will be instrumental in the implementation of the JSIF School Environmental Programme which encapsulates sustainable initiatives including composting, recycling, gardening, environment clubs and an environmental awareness plan in 15 inner-city basic, primary and all-age schools located in their communities, which includes: Passmore Town, Jones Town, Federal Gardens, Whitfield Town, Shelter Rock, Central Village, Lauriston, March Pen, Tawes Meadows, Bucknor, Knolliss and Flanker.