My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaican Drought, Trees and Air Quality - Why Jamaican Apartment dwellers are developing Respiratory Ailments

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jamaican Drought, Trees and Air Quality - Why Jamaican Apartment dwellers are developing Respiratory Ailments

It seems that the Trees are also quietly sneaking into the News once more.

This time it's Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill who has finally made the connecting between the current drought and the use of our forests as reported in the article “Pickersgill Calls For Better Use Of Jamaica's Forest Resources”, published Saturday October 3, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This was the message that was spoken by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan on his behalf at the official national tree day planting ceremony at the St Andrew Technical High School on Friday October 2nd 2015.

In it, he related an interesting statistic that's a little troubling; only 40% of the island is covered with trees. That means that not only is there not enough trees on the island to prevent soil erosion, but the lack of trees will result in a loss of animal ecosystems, especial those animals that call the trees home.

With such a small number of trees, there is nothing to prevent surface water and water that filters though the soil as described in my blog article entitled “Water Wastage at MICO - How Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting benefits Agriculture”.

As a result soil evaporation increases, especially during these times of increased sunlight and daytime heating that is the result of global warming. Thus less water reaches the rivers and hence Jamaica experience not only water shortages but drought-like conditions.

Trees and Air Quality - Why apartment dwellers are developing Respiratory Ailments

But an even more obvious connection between trees and humans exists; air quality. Trees convert Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and water photosynthesis to Glucose (‎C6H12O6) and excrete Oxygen (O2). This is the oxygen that we humans that live close to the Earth breathe.

However, within some apartments building in Kingston, landscapers, eager to save on the constant costs of landscaping, have decided to cut down the trees. The result: a decline in the quality of oxygen in the air and an increase in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

The result is an increase in respiratory ailments as noticed by an astute apartment dwelling resident as penned in the letter to the Gleaner entitled “Mandate Tree Quota For Apartments, Houses”, Published Tuesday September 8, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

We are slowly choking ourselves to death. I already have to deal with an increase of my Bronchitis, which has been acting up a lot since I’ve been hack in Kingston. I’ve even done an article on alternative treatments for Asthma and Bronchitis as per my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to use Alternative Treatments for Asthma and Bronchitis” knowing that many Jamaican seek natural herbal remedies instead of using pharmaceuticals that have known side-effects.

Projects like the TFT (Trees for Tomorrow) Project as described in “Jamaica Still Reaping Benefits From Trees For Tomorrow Project”, Published Saturday October 3, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner need to be expanded not only into the country areas but also into the Urban and ghetto areas.

This will help to improve air quality and thus reduce the slowly increasing incidence of respiratory ailments that's mown on the rise thanks to less than 40% of the island being covered with trees.

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