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Last updated on: June 6, 2005 11:06 AM

Problems affecting Kingston Harbour

The root causes of Kingston Harbour's problems are:
•Urbanization: approximately 800,000 of the national population of 2.6 million now live in localities where their activities can have direct impact upon the ecology of Kingston Harbour. There are densities of over 18,000 persons /square mile in some small areas of the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

The main degrading impacts on the harbour are eutrophication, sedimentation, and solid waste build up.
•Landlocked Configuration: (the bay is almost landlocked)

•Relatively small Tidal Prism: the tide removes only one foot of surface water, while the harbour is 60 feet at the deepest point. The harbour therefore has a long flushing time.

•Scarcity of financial resources: Government has had difficulty in mobilising resources to put in place measures to clean up the harbour.

The most visible manifestation of the degradation of water quality of the harbour is the frequent recurrence of local eutrophication, a condition which develops when there is excessive fertilization of a body of water.

This leads to depletion of oxygen, causing general deterioration of water quality, foul odour, taste, and decline of biodiversity. The eutrophication of Kingston Harbour is caused mainly by poorly treated/untreated sewage, industrial and household effluents and solid waste, agrochemicals, and impacts from ship traffic. "Red Tidea" or algae bloom is the extreme stage of eutrophication.


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