Inspiring personal responsibility and increasing waste management resources in Falmouth, Jamaica
Founded in 1769 on Jamaica’s northwestern coast, Falmouth lays claim to a long colonial history of slavery, sugar plantations, and commerce, as well as remarkable Georgian architecture, much of which still stands intact. In 2011, the Falmouth Historic Cruise Port opened, transforming the coastal and sleepy town into a major cruise port of call. In the subsequent years, Falmouth has become Jamaica’s most visited port, receiving about 50 percent of the total passengers to Jamaica.
Falmouth and the surrounding region are affected by waste management issues that endanger the island’s environmental health and the visitor experience. While the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) provides services across the island, the organization faces a number of garbage collection challenges. One of the major obstacles is that the waste disposal site for Falmouth is located in another parish, which results in a 3-4 hour turnover period for collecting and transporting the waste. This compounded with a limited number of resources, particularly trucks, leads to infrequent collection service. Due to the irregular collection, many people choose to dump their residential waste in places they shouldn’t. There is a need to address these collection challenges as well as inspire a heightened sense of personal responsibility within the local community.
In order to foster a healthy destination, local stakeholders participated in an action-planning workshop as part of Falmouth’s participation in the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA). During the workshop, stakeholders identified key sustainability issues and prioritized an action project focused on improving solid waste management.
To communicate the importance of proper waste disposal and inspire personal responsibility, the project will engage multiple audiences in awareness raising activities. A road march focused on spreading the message of keeping Falmouth clean, and dubbed the “Falmouth Invasion,” is scheduled to take place in February 2017. To encourage recycling and environmental stewardship among Falmouth’s younger residents, a school recycling competition was launched in November 2016. Future plans include hosting a Town Hall meeting for residents and businesses to discuss the importance of solid waste management. In an effort to discourage littering and violations of solid waste management laws, a campaign focused on heightening public awareness of enforcement activities will be implemented.
In addition to raising public awareness, this project is also working to increase Falmouth’s waste management resources. Additional waste collection containers and small carts will be procured to increase the solid waste management work and keep the town clean.