January 26, 2016
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is calling on Jamaicans to use snapshots to shed light on the importance of wetland conservation.
The island’s environmental regulatory Agency recently launched a photography competition inviting entries that showcase the sustainable use of wetlands.
According to Dionne Rose, Manager of NEPA’s Public Education and Corporate Communication Branch and Government Focal Point for Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) the Agency is using the competition to raise public awareness about the connection between wetlands and human survival under the theme "Wetlands for our future: Sustainable Livelihoods".
“We are therefore looking for photographs that depict the theme such as wetlands as a source of income; a means of ecotourism, habitat and nursery for a wide range of species, and wetlands as a source of food,” she said pointing out that entries close on February 21 and that persons could win prizes up to $50,000.
Digital photographs may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org and the competition is open to amateurs and professionals alike.
The competition is one of several activities planned by the Agency and its partners to celebrate World Wetlands Day which is observed annually on February 2. The focal point this year will be the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected Area and Ramsar Site.
Anthony McKenzie, Director of the Environmental Management and Conservation Division at NEPA underscored the importance of wetlands.
“Wetlands serve many critical functions. They provide a nursery for juvenile fish, assist in water purification and reduce flooding. Destroying our wetlands would mean cheating ourselves of these critical ecosystems services,” said Mr. McKenzie.
Other activities planned in celebration of the day: include a joint display at the Norman Manley International Airport on January 28; a mangrove replanting exercise and beach cleanup in St. James on January 31 by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust.
The Portland Environmental Protection Association and the University of the West Indies Alligator Head Marine Laboratory will have a Community Expo in Port Antonio, Portland on February 2. Meanwhile, over in Clarendon, the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation will have a schools’ debate, quiz and mangrove replanting exercise on February 5 and the Institute of Jamaica will have wetland tours, games and displays at Mason River Protected Area, Game Sanctuary and Ramsar Site, Clarendon on February 4.