Jamaica - Environment
Among the government agencies charged with environmental responsibilities are the Ministry of Health and Environmental Control, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Natural Resources Conservation Authority. The major environmental problems involve water quality and waste disposal. Jamaica has 9.4 cu km of renewable water resources with 77% used for agriculture and 7% used for industrial purposes. About 85% of the people living in rural areas and 98% of the city dwellers have access to pure drinking water. Coastal waters have been polluted by sewage, oil spills, and industrial wastes. Another major source of water pollution has been the mining of bauxite, which has contaminated the ground water with red-mud waste. Another environmental problem for Jamaica is land erosion and deforestation. Forest and woodland decreased 7% annually between 1990 and 1995. Jamaica's coral reefs have also been damaged. The nation's cities produce over 0.3 million tons of solid waste per year. Kingston has the waste disposal and vehicular pollution problems typical of a densely populated urban area.
In 2001, four of Jamaica's mammal species were endangered, as were seven bird species and eight reptile species. About 680 plant species are also threatened. Endangered species in Jamaica
include the tundra peregrine falcon, homerus swallowtail butterfly, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, and American crocodile. The Caribbean monk seal, Osborn's key mouse, and the Jamaica giant galliwasp have become extinct.