THE EDITOR, Sir:
One notes with some appreciation the fact that the public is being made aware of the impact of climate change on our country. This is commendable and should be encouraged.
It is also noted that climate change is being held responsible for some of the flooding which takes place in Jamaica, and also the lack of sufficient water during periods of drought.
No doubt, climate change bears some responsibility. However, I am concerned and hope that we are not diverting attention from some of the other reasons for us having severe floods and the lack of water when there is no rainfall.
The agricultural practices taking place on our hilly terrain are a major contributor to the fact that during periods of heavy rainfall, most of the water which would normally go to boost supplies in our underground aquifers now finds its way to the sea, carrying with it valuable topsoil.
When the rain stops falling, underground reservoirs, having not been replenished, are unable to help. Added to all this is the now common practice of erecting buildings, mostly in the form of large housing schemes, in flood-prone places and areas of natural drainage which, at the first sign of rain, are flooded. Since some of these schemes are not subject to the required engineering inputs which would help to mitigate these occurrences, hence we have these disasters.
I am old enough to remember Norman Manley's vision of the Land Authorities, and to understand how much they were able to assist in food production and to ensure that it was done in a manner which help with preventing soil erosion and in preventing valuable rainfall from ending up in the sea.
I, therefore, laud the efforts being made to tackle the current awareness of climate change. Let's not lose sight of some other issues that we need to focus on but to ensure that we continue to be a land of wood and water.
DERICK HEAVEN (CD)
Sugar Industry Authority