|By O’Jay Cole, Journalist
NCU student (left) assisting SPM employee (right) in the community outreach along the Winston Jones Highway in Manchester (Photo: Janell Henderson)
The Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in collaboration with the Southern Parks and Markets Waste Management (SPM) conducted a community outreach project to assist in the cleaning of the communities in Manchester on March 5, 2020.
Students and faculty of NCU impacted the Decarteret Road, Lower Melrose Hill, Williamsfield to Porus, Williamsfield to New Green, Kirkvine Road and Greenvale to New Green in Manchester. An estimated 120 students took part in this initiative. Public Cleansing Manager at SPM Waste Management Sheldon Smith, in his address to the students set to impact the communities at NCU’s Gymnatorium, stated that they should take pride in this work as they are helping to protect the health of the communities’ citizens.
“If you pick up a small container that can hold even 50 millilitres of water or less you are removing something from the environment that the Aedes aegypti mosquito can breathe in, can cause dengue and can take lives,” said Smith. Sheldon Smith who also sits on the Health and Sanitation Board for the parishes Manchester, Trelawny and Clarendon added that Northern Manchester has the most people tested positive for the Dengue virus in the parish.
NCU President, Dr Lincoln Edwards joined students along the Winston Jones highway as they cleaned. When asked what his thoughts were about NCU’s collaboration with the SPM he expressed that it is an exciting and natural collaboration. “ As persons who believe in creation NCU should be at the forefront cause we believe that God created us and placed us in the world to take care of it and any organization which shares those values and those views we are willing to collaborate with them,” said Dr Edwards.
SPM’s Community Relations Manager Candice Hayles described the collaboration as an eye-opening experience, “during my two years at solid waste I have never seen such a collaboration which made such an impact in just a few hours” she said. This outreach initiative is not the last of its kind as NCU plans to do it again and raise the bar. The organization, Southern Parks and Markets (SPM) which NCU collaborated with is the arm of the National Solid Waste Management (NSWMA) which serves the parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon. The NSWMA’s mission is to provide solid waste management services in order to safeguard public health while helping to create an environment that is healthy and aesthetically pleasing for both residents and visitors to enjoy.