I couldn’t be the only one concerned about how increasingly polluted the ambient air around Kingston and St Andrew has become in recent times. Every other vehicle is spitting out thick, black smoke. One whiff of those vehicular emissions and my throat becomes sore, my head aches and my lips start burning – sure signs that the toxic emissions have just poisoned me.
These poisonous vehicular emissions consist of pollutants such as lead, carbon monoxide, suspended sulphates, nitrates, dirt, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and soot. Drive around town with your windows down at your own risk.
Public transport vehicles, especially taxis, minibuses and the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses, seem to be the worst offenders. They spew out the thickest, blackest smoke around town. Don’t the authorities, supported with taxpayers’ money, drive on the roads too and see and smell the pollution?
I sent some questions last week to Reginald Allen, JUTC’s corporate communications manager. He said that the problem of vehicular emissions “is definitely of concern to the JUTC, as we are aware of the health concerns relative to excessive emission into the atmosphere”, and he further indicated that “the intricate issue that relates to this problem is the high sulphur content that exists in our diesel fuel locally, which is 5,000 parts per million (5,000 PPM)”.