Jamaica Starts IMO-Led Project to Combat Ocean Plastic Litter

Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Published Sep 17, 2021 1:23 AM by The Maritime Executive

An IMO-led project to combat ocean plastic waste is now under way in Jamaica, one of the first countries to join the agency's GloLitter Partnerships program. 

The GloLitter project aims to build capacity in nations to enable them to tackle ocean plastic pollution, particularly wastes from fishing and marine operations. Studies have estimated that shoreside communities send 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic waste into the oceans every year, with negative impacts on marine species, human health and maritime industries. 

Some maritime stakeholders also generate ocean plastic, particularly the nets and other gear from fishing operations. The GloLitter Partnerships project aims to help developing countries to reduce marine litter within the maritime and fishing sectors, including ways to reduce the use of plastic on board. 

Jamaica is one of the 10 countries selected as lead partners in the $4.5 million program. 

“As a Small Island Developing State (SID) with an open economy and heavy dependence on the blue economy for trade, tourism and fishing, Jamaica is well placed to benefit from the project," said Rear Adm. Peter Brady (ret'd.), the director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica. "We will have the responsibility to share our experience and best practice gained from the project with the rest of the Caribbean and other SIDs."

In Jamaica, the GloLitter program will address the retrieval of lost and discarded fishing gear, and it will help establish port facilities and initiatives for the recycling and reuse of marine plastic litter. With financial support from the government of Norway, the program will also hire a local consultant to assist with institutional and legal reforms for the prevention of marine litter. The project extends through 2024.