Portmore air quality deteriorating, ministry plans sensitisation
The Ministry of Health is to step up its public health sensitisation programme in Portmore, St Catherine amid reports of deteriorating air quality in the municipality.
The Sunday Gleaner reported that data from the National Environment and Planning Agency show that Portmore has one of the worst qualities of air in the country.
According to the data, Portmore has been found to have a higher-than-average composition of coarse dust particles in the atmosphere around the community.
Consultant physician and pulmonologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr Althea Aquart-Stewart, had advised persons who suffer from respiratory problems to avoid living in Portmore and encouraged current residents with respiratory issues to move out of the community.
Director of the Environmental Health Unit in the health ministry, Everton Baker, says open burning and dust nuisance from open lands are the main issues affecting the air quality in Portmore.
Baker says over the years the health ministry has undertaken several interventions in Portmore to address the air quality issues.
He says in light of the current situation the ministry will be increasing its activities with stakeholders to address the problem.
Baker was speaking in an interview on Power Talk on Power 106 FM yesterday.
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has called for regulatory bodies with responsibility for air quality to carry out their duties.
JET has also called for Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is the minister of environment, to take immediate steps to address Jamaica's worsening air quality and give the issue priority.