MoBay waters to get quality test
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
The Montego Bay Marine Park (MBMP) will soon be conducting water-quality sampling of beaches and marine resources with assistance from the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Joshua Bailey, research and outreach officer, MBMP, said scientific and technical officers from NEPA would host a water-quality sampling workshop with MBMP, June 24, to boost the latter's ability to test and monitor beaches and other marine resources in the city.
"This is a part of a broader move by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust to implement regular scientific research and monitoring of Montego Bay's marine resources," said Bailey. "This will also help us to establish baseline figures, which will help us to monitor the improvement of water quality in the park area."
Bailey further stated that the workshop would be opened to stakeholders who operate water-based activities in Montego Bay.
The marine park research officer indicated that the tests to be carried out would check for salinity (salt content of the water), as well as the presence of microbes, which could cause disease.
"We would be testing for e coli prevalence, salinity, ph, and the presence of faecal matter. All of these could impact the health of users of beaches and the marine environment, overall," said Bailey.
Bailey, who said he could not give current scientific data on the water quality, indicated that, from basic observation, the run-off that gets into the sea is often filled with garbage and chemicals, some of which promote the growth of algae (microscopic seaweed or aquatic plants), which negatively affects the coral reefs.
The Montego Bay Marine Park extends from the Tropical Beach at White House, north east to the Rum Bottle Bay, Great River Area in the West, and covers more than 20 beaches.