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Hotel staff, students clean up Whitehouse to mark Earth Day

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MORE than 180 pounds of garbage were collected and removed from the Whitehouse community in Montego Bay by Sandals Foundation ambassadors and Sandals ‘earth guardians’ from the three Sandals Resorts in St James, along with students and teachers from Flanker Primary & Junior High last Thursday, ahead of Earth Day yesterday.

The Whitehouse community, which is part of the protected Montego Bay coastline, was cleared of bottles, straws, plastics and numerous other refuse by teams from Sandals Inn, Sandals Royal Caribbean, and Sandals Montego Bay.

The Flanker Primary and Junior High Students, as well as teachers, were also the beneficiaries of a tour of the Montego Bay Marine Park, courtesy of the Sandals Foundation. The enlightened students and Sandals team members then got a glass-bottom boat tour on the beautiful Caribbean Sea that washes the Montego Bay coastline, during which they were able to see coral reef and the marine life that are vital to the Caribbean’s ecosystem.

“It’s a good idea to teach children about the marine species that are part of the environment. A lot of times people destroy the reef because they don’t know about the importance. With the tour that we do the children are always so excited to go out and see the reef, and they always want to know about what they see in the water. When they learn, they will teach others around them and will grow up with better knowledge of the environment,” said Sharlinda Forrester, outreach and educational officer, Montego Bay Marine Park.

She said pollution is a major problem affecting endangered species. “Turtles, for instance, are not nesting on the beach as they used to; many are dying before they reach maturity. This is due to the presence of excess light, noise and pollution.”

At the same time, Selois Archer, environment, health and safety manager at Sandals Royal Caribbean, said her organisation was pleased in affording the students a chance to participate in the Earth Day activities, as it should develop their appreciation for mother earth and protecting their environment, particularly their neighbouring communities.

“The garbage clean-up will help them to reduce littering in their schools and communities, while the tour of the marine park was undoubtedly an eye-opener,” Archer added.

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