In Jamaica, a multi-agency effort is underway to raise awareness about the hazards associated with the open burning of waste and debris, and to eliminate the practice of open burning:
The activities are being spearheaded by NEPA’s GEF/IDB Integrated Management of the Yallahs and Hope River Watershed Management Areas Project and support the Natural Resources Conservation Environmental Protection Measures (EPM) Order.
Popularly known as the Anti-burning Order, the legislation was passed in June 2016, in an effort to curtail the open burning habits of Jamaicans within six of the island’s 26 watershed management units (WMUs) between February 1 and October 31 each year.
The multi-agency event is supported by the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Forestry Department, Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Citizens Security and Justice Programme.
“We want to change the culture of burning by farmers and residents in fire hot-spot communities and so we will be going into schools and meeting with community groups to demonstrate and promote composting and mulching as practical and viable alternatives to the destructive burning tradition.”
Uncontrolled fires in the Yallahs River and Hope River WMUs have over the years contributed to land degradation, deforestation, loss of livelihoods, biodiversity and increased water lock-offs caused by loose soil making its way into catchment basins which supply the National Water Commission.
[Image: Kevin and Justine Smith]