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Undrinkable water

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Congratulations to The Sunday Gleaner of March 14 for its investigative feature on the safety of trucked water supplies. What struck me, though, was how easily we have accepted the pollution of our rivers and streams as the norm, as an inevitable side effect of what we loosely call development.

While it is shocking that people could draw water from polluted sources and sell it to unsuspecting customers while the Ministry of Health declares ignorance, it is more shocking that we have allowed a resource as critical as water to be rendered undrinkable.

To give only two examples of our collective failure to protect and manage our water supplies: Kingston sits over a large freshwater aquifer, now substantially polluted by sewage from soakaway pits. I gather a recent study exists on this matter and I would encourage The Gleaner to get hold of it. Second, I was recently driving back from Negril and just outside Mandeville, I saw the bauxite waste dump being lavishly watered to keep the caustic dust down.

Concern about environmental issues is not merely the domain of tree-hugging elites, as it is so often portrayed. Protecting the environment means safeguarding the most basic of human needs - air, water, food, shelter and defence from natural disasters.

I am, etc,


Jamaica Environment Trust

Kingston 10