September 20, 2023
IN a display of environmental consciousness and teamwork, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the Zero Waste in the Caribbean Project, partnered with the Jamaican women’s national Under-17 football team, representatives of the senior national men’s volleyball team, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and other partners to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup Day in Kingston.
On Saturday these athletes, renowned for their dedication to, and passion for their respective sports, traded their jerseys for gloves and garbage bags to make a significant impact on Kingston’s coastline.
Thanks to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, this year’s collaboration between UNEP, UNESCO, and Jamaica’s sports stars showcased the power of unity and environmental stewardship.
Daniele Mariani, UNEP communication and knowledge management specialist, declared, “Sport has the power to unite people and inspire change. This event exemplifies how athletes can use their influence to raise awareness about critical environmental issues.”
The athletes, along with UNEP and UNESCO representatives, gathered at Kingston’s Palisadoes strip early Saturday morning, where they were welcomed by enthusiastic volunteers. Under the scorching sun the teams tirelessly worked together to clean up beaches – removing tons of plastic waste, bottles, and other debris that pose a threat to marine life and ecosystems.
Crystal Walters, manager of the women’s football team, said, “It was an incredible experience to join hands with the men’s volleyball team, UNEP and UNESCO to clean up our beautiful Kingston coastline. As athletes we understand the importance of teamwork, and this event showed us that together we can make a significant impact on the environment.”
The event not only emphasised the importance of environmental conservation but also promoted a sense of civic responsibility among the athletes, inspiring them to be role models for the next generation of Jamaican sports enthusiasts. The collaborative effort extended beyond the clean-up, with UNEP conducting awareness sessions about the environmental impact of plastic pollution and the urgent need for sustainable practices.
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