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Stabroek News

Managing air pollution - National Environment and Planning Agency plays a key role
published: Thursday | April 27, 2006


Emissions from burning waste can enter the human respiratory tract and these are sometimes carcinogenic and toxic. - CONTRIBUTED

AIR POLLUTION in Jamaica comes mainly from industrial activities and motor vehicles.

The main industries that contribute to air pollution in Jamaica are: bauxite/alumina, electricity and steam generation, cement and lime manufacturing, chemical processing and petroleum refining.

The rapid growth in motor vehicle fleets has also contributed to the obvious deterioration in air quality in urban areas, particularly in the Kingston Metropolitan Region where the refinery and cement plants and some electricity and steam generating plants are located.

There has been ongoing concern in urban areas about air pollution, and also from communities that are located near specific facilities such as bauxite alumina plants and the sulphuric acid plants.

IMPLICATIONS OF AIR POLLUTION

There are reports of increased incidences of respiratory diseases in urban areas as well as in the vicinity of bauxite alumina plants in Jamaica.

Mobile sources emit nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter into the atmosphere.

A volatile organic compound is a compound that contains carbon and hydrogen and has a low boiling point

In the presence of sunlight, VOCs and NOX undergo changes that result in the formation of smog. VOC emissions from mobile sources include organic compounds such as benzene that are called carcinogens (which are cancer causing agents).

The particulate matter emissions from vehicles can enter the human respiratory tract and these are sometimes carcinogenic and toxic.

PROGRAMMES FOR CONTROL

As the lead agency responsible for environmental management, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has a responsibility to implement programmes that will ensure the control of air pollution.

Some of these programmes are the development of standards and regulations, development of an air quality network and conducting air quality monitoring throughout the island.

These programmes are implemented in collaboration with the environmental health unit of the Ministry of Health, the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica Public Service Company, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, Meteorological Services, and Transport Authority.

NEPA urges you to do your part to reduce air pollution and so help to protect Mother Earth for the future generations.

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