Refuge Cay before
Refuge Cay before 2
Refuge Cay garbage
Refuge Cay tyres 2
Refuge Cay after 2
Refuge Cay after 1
Refuge Cay garbage barriers
Refuge Cay garbage barriers 2

As millions across the globe observed World Earth Day on April 22nd under the theme “End Plastic Pollution,” Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) is reporting the removal of 8,299 bags of garbage, comprising mainly plastics, from the Refuge Cay mangroves in Kingston. This effort was the first phase of a cleanup and rehabilitation project sponsored by KFTL and executed by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Marine Sciences and the Port Royal Marine Laboratory. The cleaning started on January 8th 2018 and lasted 6 weeks.

In addition to the bags of garbage, other items cleared included 30 refrigerators, 13 cooking gas cylinders, five washing machines and over 50 tyres. Miscellaneous items such as car bumpers, crates, buckets, a scuba tank, nets, fishing lines and other small appliances were also removed.

The second phase of the project, the installation of barriers to prevent further garbage buildup on the Cay, was completed on March 23rd 2018. The third phase, which involves fisher folk removing garbage built up in the barriers on a monthly basis, commenced in April 2018; while the fourth phase, the replanting of mangrove saplings, is slated to begin in May 2018.

Following on these gains, KFTL has also commenced initiatives at its facility to help end plastic pollution. These include removing single-use plastic straws from its canteen and embarking on a recycling campaign, which will encourage staff to separate various waste streams, including plastic. Moreover, plans have been initiated to replace the company’s supply of styrofoam containers with bio-degradable alternatives.

Locally, the Recycling Partners of Jamaica reported that between March 2014 and March 2017, it recovered over 3.3 million pounds of plastics – or over 100 million bottles – from the environment in Jamaica. Meanwhile, according to the Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day observations worldwide, over 300 million tons of plastic are sold globally each year, 90% of which is thrown away.


In February, over 60 students and teachers from two schools in the corporate area received an opportunity to learn about the importance of the biodiversity within the Kingston Harbour through a tour and field lecture at Refuge Cay and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Port Royal Marine Lab. The activity, which was sponsored by the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) was carried out in partnership with UWI’s Centre for Marine Sciences.
The educational activity, which was held on February 2, in observance of World Wetlands Day 2018, under the theme, “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future,” also served to highlight some of the work being done to preserve wetlands in the Kingston Harbour. This includes the ‘Restoration and Cleanup of Refuge Cay Mangroves’ project, which is also being sponsored by KFTL and implemented in collaboration with UWI’s Port Royal Marine Lab and involves clean-up and re-planting activities at Refuge Cay.
Eleven year old, Zion Dowie, from Port Royal Primary school was elated to participate in the Refuge Cay tour. “It was an amazing experience to learn about the mangroves and I love how the workers are helping to get it cleaned. I want to encourage people to stop throwing garbage into the sea and into gullies and to throw them in garbage bags instead,” pleaded Dowie.


Moyen Campbell, Guidance Counsellor at the Harbour View Primary school and who was one of the teachers who accompanied the students, noted that “they were very receptive of the information and we will ensure they share with others at their school, the lessons learned about the importance of keeping their surroundings clean.”


The World Wetlands Day tour for students and the ‘Refuge Cay Mangroves Restoration and Cleanup’ project, are among several community outreach activities which KFTL sponsors as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility. KFTL has also sponsored another project which will benefit the Kingston Harbour –  the ‘Port Royal Cays Coral Reef Rehabilitation,’ which will be implemented over a five year period and will feature the design, installation and monitoring of artificial reef structures on the Port Royal Barrier Reef.




CMA CGM subsidiary in Jamaica, the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) has once again displayed its environmental stewardship by sponsoring two projects that will improve the fisheries resource of the Kingston Harbour. The projects, the ‘Refuge Cay Mangrove Cleanup and Restoration’ and the ‘Port Royal Cays Coral Reef Rehabilitation,’ are being implemented in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Marine Sciences and the Port Royal Marine Laboratory.


Over 4,200 bags of garbage were collected over four weeks as part of the ‘Refuge Cay Mangrove Restoration’ project, since the cleaning began on January 8, 2018.  Following the removal of the heavy build-up of solid waste from Refuge Cay, mangrove seedlings will be planted and garbage barriers installed to prevent further garbage build up. Any further garbage that gathers in the barriers will also be regularly removed and disposed.


In Jamaica, the Refuge Cay is home to numerous species of birds and also serves as a nursery area and feeding ground for a variety of fish species. Over the years, a large quantity of garbage accumulated on the cay which limited the flushing of sea water through the mangroves. Consequently, the cay became hypersaline causing a “dead zone” to develop at its centre. Since the cay has never been cleaned, this project is of major significance and is intended to be a catalyst for similar initiatives.


According to Professor of Marine Biology, Mona Webber, PhD., who is also Director at the Centre for Marine Sciences at UWI, “mangroves are natural filters cleaning our waters, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (helping to mitigate climate change) and they support birds and other wild life. It is therefore a tremendous partnership between KFTL, UWI and the men and women of Port Royal and Kingston Harbour who are trying to save an area on which we all depend.”


KFTL and UWI have also partnered on another project, the Port Royal Cays Coral Reef Rehabilitation, which will be implemented over a five year period and will feature the design, installation and monitoring of artificial reef structures on the Port Royal Barrier Reef. Preliminary diving visits have already been conducted.


According to Chanelle Fingal Robinson, PhD., Social Impact Specialist at KFTL, “both projects will not only benefit the environment but also financially benefit the Kingston Harbour fisherfolk through potentially creating alternative livelihoods such as ecotourism.” For the Refuge Cay project, for instance, over 20 persons from the Port Royal community, most of whom are fisherfolk, have been contracted to clean the area.


These two initiatives form part of KFTL’s wider Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and are aimed at enhancing the quality of the Kingston Harbour, which is the 7th largest natural harbour in the world.

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