Selected Dissemination of Information May 5, 2014
Local News World Bank approves climate change project in Dominica
The Daily Observer
Robb wants ‘Hub’ questions answered
The Daily Observer
Non-native plant species threaten Black River eco-system Wild Ginger and Australian paperbark could eradicate endemics — Scientists
The Daily Observer
Jamaican Govt’s pitiful on solid waste management – Expert
Negril Beach restoration - a clearer picture
Waterford Students use plastic bottles for bulbs
International News Science Behind the “Global Warming Pause”
Recently Published Research Water Security and Services in the Caribbean
World Bank approves climate change project in Dominica Monday, May 05, 2014
Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
WASHINGTON â€” The World Bank announced on Thursday that it had approved a US$39 million-project in Dominica to help the island build resilience to climate change. More than 72,000 people will benefit from improved climate resilient infrastructure and capacity to monitor climate risks, officials said. Plans include the rehabilitation of 42 km of national roads, the construction of 3.5 km of storm drains, increased water storage of more than 1.8 million litres, the preparation of climate adaptation plans, and the training of governemt officials in spatial data management. "Climate change is increasing the impact of weather-related disasters in Dominica, which in turn threatens the sustainability of Dominica's development," said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. "This programme builds on the success of previous operations in other Eastern Caribbean countries and is focusing on climate adaptation and enhancing the country's disaster preparedness and emergency response," she added. Hurricane Dean in 2007 caused heavy losses in infrastructure and agriculture. The country also experienced record flooding and landslides associated with heavy rains in 2012 and 2013, which amounted to more than US$120 million in damage. "Dominica is undertaking a number of initiatives to respond to the threats posed by climate change. I am confident that Dominica will experience great success as we move forward with the World Bank on this great project," said Harold Guiste, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment.
This project for climate adaptation and disaster vulnerability reduction is financed from an International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$17 million and a US$12 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund Grant to the Government of Dominica. It also includes a credit of US$9 million from the Strategic Climate Fund and US$1.5 million from the Government. Dominica is one of six countries in the Caribbean to participate in the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, one of the targeted programmes of the Climate Investment Funds. The island is also part of a multi-country risk-pooling facility, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). The Daily Observer May 5, 2014 Pg 26
Robb wants ‘Hub’ questions answered Horace Hines
Monday, May 05, 2014
MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Nathan Robb has expressed concern over the silence surrounding what roles the Sangster International Airport and the Montego Bay shipping port will play in the proposed Logistics Hub. "We have heard all about the Logistics Hub. For people in western Jamaica, how is it going to impact on us? We have two significant entities here in western Jamaica and I don't know if anybody has said anything on how these significant entities will dovetail in the Logistics Hub. "We have here in Montego Bay a substantial seaport and we have a substantial airport, which by itself dwarfs all the other aircraft movement in Jamaica, but again the point of view of western Jamaica, is it a factor in the hub?. "Similarly we have a seaport, it might not be able to harbour, so to speak, the biggest cruise ships that we have in the world, but must we remain a barge tender?" Robb asked. He expressed optimism that these questions will be answered during an upcoming symposium on 'What the Logistics Hub will mean for Montego Bay'. The conference is scheduled to be held at the Wexford Hotel on Thursday, May 8. "Well, the Logistics Hub seminar will be on the 8th of May right here in Montego Bay, right here at the Wexford Hotel and I am encouraging you as members to come out yourselves, and also to invite others to come out so that we might hear," Robb said. He was speaking last week during the annual general meeting of the MBCCI, held at the Wexford Hotel. Robb staved off a challenge from Gloria Henry and was returned as president of the chamber. The Daily Observer May 5, 2014
Non-native plant species threaten Black River eco-system Wild Ginger and Australian paperbark could eradicate endemics — scientists BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-large South/Central Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org Monday, May 05, 2014
BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — The problem is not yet at crisis proportions, but scientists are voicing increasing concern at the invasion of alien plant species in the ecologically priceless Black River Lower Morass. Alpinia Allughas, colloquially referred to as wild ginger, and the Australian paperbark tree, which carries the scientific name Melaleuca Quinquenervia, are the species attracting the most attention. According to Dr Kurt McLaren, senior lecturer, Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies such “invasives” have the potential to destroy the ecology of the Black River Morass. Seen as a “natural sponge” crucial to soaking up excess water and mitigating flooding on the St Elizabeth plains, the 15,600-hectare Black River Lower Morass is classified and protected under the Ramsar Convention. Signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, the convention provides for the conservation and sustainable use of important wetlands. The lower morass is also of direct economic importance, partly because of its plentiful fish and shrimp, but increasingly for its attractiveness to tourists. On a daily basis, many boatloads of tourists travel up and down the Black River to experience the largest freshwater wetland in Jamaica and the islands of the English-speaking Caribbean. The Black River is home to the famed American crocodile and numerous species of endemic birds and plants. As part of the four-year project dubbed Mitigating the Threats of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (MTIASIC), now at its end stage, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) recently took journalists two miles up the Black River to see plant invasions at first hand. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme and the Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International (CABI), the project embraced pilot projects aimed not only at the paper bark tree and wild ginger, but also other invasives including lionfish and predators which target the Jamaican iguana.
Pleasing to look at, with its cute pink flowers, but also deadly to fresh, innocent environs, the alpinia (wild ginger) is a member of the ginger family and originally came to Jamaica as an ornamental. Its origins are in South East Asia. It has spread fast across the lower morass taking up one per cent of the wetlands, according to estimates. Experts say it is difficult to control because it spreads both by root and its flowered seeds. And once the thick clusters take over an area all other plants die. “Wild ginger rapidly displaces other plant species… it grows in very dense thickets, and so whatever else was growing there is smothered,” explained NEPA’s Nelsa English Johnson. McLaren, who has been observing and researching the lower morass at close quarters since 2004 and has headed efforts at control with help from MTIASIC project and sometimes “out of my own pocket”, says eliminating wild ginger doesn’t seem feasible. “The best bet is control”, he said. Experiments carried out under the MTIASIC project as well as information from elsewhere suggest that the best control method is to frustrate growth by persistently cutting away at its roots and leafage. Replanting with native species to further frustrate the invasive is also recommended. Happily for McLaren, the MTIASIC project has provided a kind of “industrial-sized lawn mower” specially designed for wetlands which he believes will be invaluable in wild ginger control measures. The paperbark tree, originally from Australia, has become a problem for wetlands across the globe. In the huge Florida Everglades it is a horror story, taking over much of that world-famous wetland. It is said to be costing the US authorities in excess of US$160 million annually in environmental damage. Yet, according to McLaren, while expanding fast in the lower morass, the paperbark tree — which may also have been taken to Jamaica as an ornamental — is still at the stage where it can be eliminated with determined action. That's virtually unheard of for plant invasives in Jamaica. “It’s less than a thousand trees,” explained McLaren. “So you can actually go and remove all of those trees. In my lifetime I have never seen anything (invasive plant species) that you can actually (remove completely),” said McLaren. But such action will have to happen quickly since the tree which can grow to height of up to 100 feet, grows fast and reproduces quickly. Like other aggressive invasive species such as the wild ginger, the paperbark tree displaces all other plants.
Each mature tree has millions of seeds which quickly cascade from pods whenever the tree comes under physical threat. It is fire resistant, recovering very quickly from conflagrations, yet its flaky bark also makes it highly flammable and is said to have helped to fuel massive fires in the Everglades.
The trees use up large amounts of water and, according to McLaren, “can cause problems with the whole hydrology of the morass and it could affect the availability of water… If you have this thing establishing itself you probably won’t have a morass much longer…” A combination of chemical use and careful cutting has been used to control the paperbark tree. Also, according to McLaren, a traditional method of cutting away the bark of the tree to get to the delicate tissues below can help to facilitate quick eradication. All agree that as the MTIASIC project — which provided US$749,000 with matching resources in cash and kind from the Jamaican government — comes to an end, finding the money to continue fighting invasives present a major challenge. But for English Johnson, the hope is that a public education programme in the St Elizabeth capital, Black River, and other communities surrounding the lower morass will have made a difference in how residents treat invasives and seek to protect their environment. Social interventions using sports and community activities have been invaluable, she says. An interpretive art display, entitled Black River’s Treasures, sited at Charles Swaby’s South Coast Safari headquarters at the mouth of the Black River just east of the town centre is central to the programme which encourages the notion that protecting Black River’s biodiversity will preserve the community’s legacy. The bottom line, says English Johnson, is that people not only in Black River and the wider St Elizabeth, but across Jamaica, are being encouraged to stop moving “living things (in the wild) from one place to another”. “Take a picture; a picture will last forever. Leave living things in their living habitat,” she said. The Daily Observer (Central) May 5, 2014 Pg 1
Jamaican Gov'ts Pitiful On Solid Waste Management - Expert Published: Monday | May 5, 2014
Firemen fight a blaze at the Riverton City dump in March. â€“ FILE Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer One of Jamaica's leading experts on solid-waste management has blasted successive political administrations for their ad hoc, costly and wasteful approach to collection and disposal, dismissing the lack of funding as a pitiful excuse. The criticism, this time, is coming from Rachel Allen and in the wake of two major fires at the Riverton City dump in St Andrew, which has led to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) serving an enforcement notice and a notice of intention to suspend the permit on the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), the agency which manages the site. "What's happening at Riverton now, it's like asking a cardiologist to do surgery with a knife and fork. You need certain resources and you need certain qualifications of persons, so this is going to continue for the next however many years," Allen said in reference to recent fires at the dump. In January 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) pulled the plug on a long-term plan to develop a modern waste-management programme for Jamaica, noting in its final report that implementation was "very unsatisfactory" and failed to meet its "development objective". This led to the bank cancelling more than US$7 million of its original loan of US$11.5 million, only US$3.82 million having been disbursed.
UPGRADE PLANS The broad objectives of the project were to upgrade Riverton and establish a proper legal and institutional regulatory system for solid waste. There was also to be the preparation of an islandwide programme for waste minimisation, collection and disposal. Allen, who, as the IDB-Government of Jamaica solid-waste specialist presided over the project from 2002-2004, said that despite the failure to implement all phases, successive governments should have been able to build on the gains that were made. She wants to know what became of the tyre baler purchased during her tenure. This piece of specialised equipment is designed to prevent fires like the recent ones which were said to have started in the tyre cell. It allows for the tyres to be stacked in bales, spaced three feet apart, in order to prevent a fire. "A landfill is managed according to certain specifications and standards, whether it's a dump or is a landfill. So when you space, for example, the tyres three feet apart, and you have the extinguishers put into the office, if someone tries to light the tyre cell, they can't ignite each other. When you saw that big ol' pile down there like a hill top, that's the worst thing possible, but if you space them out, the fire cannot spread from one aisle to the next aisle." Allen said she even led a team, including members of the NSWMA and the health ministry, to Canada so they could observe waste-to-energy operations to inform plans for such operations in Jamaica. The solid-waste management expert, who recently quit as senior adviser in the water, land, environment and climate-change ministry, is disappointed in the continuing waste and excuses for not getting more done. "It's frustrating because a lot of what you see there now, it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't. And I fail to understand why we're still - after how many years - doing the same foolishness. We haven't done anything new, so how can you expect something different to happen?" she asked. BETTER RESOURCES NEEDED Meanwhile, Allen is warning that the failure to employ people with the requisite skills and provide proper resources to address the country's dismal garbage collection and disposal will see the problem escalating to dangerous proportions.
Jamaican Gov'ts Pitiful On Solid Waste Management â€“ Expert, continued She argued that policymakers, for the most part, have not recognised the range of skills needed to operate and manage garbage operations, noting that until this is done, Jamaica will continue to merely cope with a growing problem, which will, in all likelihood, continue to negatively impact public health.
"When I look at some of what is being done, I shudder!" she told The Gleaner. "We're just sitting down and thinking we're managing, but we're barely coping." She pointed out that with the characteristic of waste having changed significantly over time, it is necessary to make the changes at the dump to cope with this dynamic. "We used to have a lot of organic type of material, but we've become more westernised in our taste. You have more disposable diapers, plastic wrappers, styrofoam food containers and plastic bottles - things which are much more flammable than a banana peel, which will simply deteriorate. "So you have to manage according to what you know your waste is, and if you do a wastecharacterisation study, which should be done, then one of the first things that you will see is the trend, and can work with what you know you have." Sadly, she said, people with the requisite skills and qualifications are not being utilised to guide the management and the proper disposal of waste, for which the country and some of its people will continue to pay dearly, from their pockets and with their health. email@example.com The Gleaner May 5, 2014 Section A Pg 4
Negril Beach Restoration - A Clearer Picture Published: Monday | May 5, 2014
Peter Knight, Guest Columnist THE EDITOR, Sir:
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has taken note of a full-page advertisement published in the Gleaner on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, a press conference convened by selected stakeholders of the Negril community on the same date, and an article in the newspaper titled 'Negril hoteliers against breakwater plan,' published Thursday, May 1, 2014. We take this opportunity to make the following response to the statements made by the Negril stakeholders and to set the background and context to the beach management issues in the resort town. The shoreline in Negril, Westmoreland, has been eroding on a continuous basis over the years. Historical tracking data show that sections of the shoreline have eroded some 62 metres over the last 45 years. Erosion continues to take place due to natural causes, including the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and anthropogenic factors such as unplanned developments and marine pollution. The agency recognises the negative trends in the Negril environment and has taken a number of management initiatives to retard, reverse and eventually improve the existing trends, and/or rehabilitate the area. Since 2010, NEPA, along with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), has mobilised over J$500 million from local and international donor agencies, as well as from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) for an integrated approach to address the issues in Negril. Specifically, the following measures have been completed under a Government of Jamaica/European Union/United Nations Environment Programme Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project: The installation of an artificial reef system. Planting of 1500 square metres of seagrass. Testing of ShoreLock on 250 metres of beach.
The installation of mooring buoys within the Marine Park. Installation of four temperature gauges (data loggers). The development of a draft Negril Marine Park Management Plan. The promotion and support of an alternative livelihood initiative (where traditional livelihoods are increasing pressures to the marine environment which is already being impacted by climate change). NEPA is also implementing the project, Enhancing the Resilience of the Agriculture Sector and Coastal Areas to Protect the Livelihoods and Improve Food Security Project. This is being funded by the Adaptation Fund for Climate Change and will see the construction of two breakwater structures within Long Bay, Negril. All interventions in Negril have benefitted from detailed auditing and have received endorsements from the donor agencies who have, along with the Jamaican Government, established environmental safeguards and international best practices to which we have complied. NEPA's intervention in Negril has been guided by a number of professional and technical studies. The 2007 Smith Warner report, which was commissioned by the Negril community, recommended two types of solutions for the rehabilitation of the beach - beach nourishment and the installation of nearshore breakwater. The Negril stakeholder advertisement in the Gleaner dated Wednesday, April 30, 2014 is an erroneous and malicious representation of the intended breakwater structures and what they are intended to do. In fact, the breakwaters will be approximately 1.5 kilometres offshore and will be submerged, therefore not visible from the beach. The installation of the breakwaters is of critical importance to the protection of the Negril community. The breakwaters will reduce wave action, protect the coastline and allow for beach accretion. We are also confident they will resuscitate activities in the community and enhance the tourism product. As part of the medium- to long-term measure, beach nourishment will also be implemented. Stakeholder consultation All interventions have benefited from extensive stakeholder consultation, including meetings led by Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill and Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill, on at least two occasions. Under the newest Adaptation Fund project, the agency categorically states that there is no intention to remove boulders from the South Negril River. Second, the plan being pursued is not a short-term fix but part of a holistic and sustained restoration effort.
The consultancy firm, CEAC Solutions Company Limited, designed the engineering solution for the breakwater structures that have since been modeled and tested by the University of Delaware's Center for Applied Coastal Research Ocean Engineering Laboratory in Delaware, USA. The Center has endorsed the design and placement of the breakwaters. The Center is confident the design will withstand major one in 100 year storm events and has also concluded that the structures will be climate resilient as the design takes into consideration changes in wave climate and increased water levels. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the breakwaters was just recently completed by CL Environmental Limited, and the report should be uploaded to the agency's website by Monday, May 5, 2014. The EIA procedure makes it mandatory to consult with the public. Thus, consultation will be convened with the Negril stakeholders within the next 30 days. This consultation will give all yet another opportunity to see and hear the plans and raise any concerns. The agency is not only mandated but happy to record and consider any material comments from the consultations before making a recommendation to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority. The EIA will also benefit from the technical review from key government agencies and academia before any recommendation is made. NEPA has, not to date, varied from the established guidelines for considering and reviewing such projects, and we have no intention of doing so. We also have not ignored or bypassed the Negril stakeholders in this exercise. Peter Knight is chief executive officer and government town planner for the NEPA. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Gleaner May 5, 2014 Section A Pg 7
Waterford Students Use Plastic Bottles For Bulbs Published: Monday | May 5, 2014
Students Shinel Allen and Kemo Anderson discuss their solar bulb project. - Photos by Christopher Serju
Members of the Waterford High School Science and Environment Club have hit upon a bright idea which they are optimistic will help to reduce their electricity bill, as well as have much wider applications beyond the walls of the St Catherine-based institution. Under the guidance of their science teacher, the students have come up with a way to transform discarded transparent plastic drink bottles into 'solar bulbs', and are awaiting the results of two competitions in which they submitted a project, showcasing the practicality of the concept. "All were amazed. They commended us for the hard work and innovation," science teacher Tera Rankine told The Gleaner during a recent visit to the school. Convincing her students to go ahead with the idea which started at home was much harder, but now they are all sold on the idea. Discovery "I was at home drinking water from the bottle, and when I held it up, some light reflected on the wall, and I said to my brother, "why is that happening, what is causing the light to reflect like that?" she recalled. Following further discussions with her sibling, the teacher took the idea to school, but at first, the students were not impressed. Still, at her insistence, they began to collect the transparent drinking bottles to be found in abundance across the school yard and began experimenting. Soon they were convinced, and built a model classroom large enough to hold desk and chair, and accommodate at least one student and teacher and fitted with four of the plastic bottle bulbs.
Since then, they have scaled up the operation to install 16 of these 'bulbs' in a classroom which had been abandoned, in part because the electric wiring had gone bad. Now the classroom has been returned to active use and the school is looking at ways to further improve lighting in other areas, using this technique. The bottles are first washed and filled with water with two drops of bleach and then installed in a hole in the zinc roof where it is held in place by strong glue and the area sealed with flash band, a material used by professionals to seal roofs to prevent leaking. Suitable Roofs The students went on to explain that while it could have a major impact in improving lighting and reducing electricity costs, the application is not for all types roofs, preferably structures with flat zinc roofs, which allows for expose of the bulbs to sunlight right throughout the day. They also recommend that it could be used in conjunction with regular lighting, since on an overcast or raining day the impact would be reduced. Bleach is added to the water to ensure that micro-organisms do not thrive and develop into the green algae, commonly referred to as morass, and which would lessen the impact. They say the bulbs could have a shelf life of 20 years and of course are free of cost. The Gleaner May 5, 2014 Section B Pg 7
International News Science Behind the "Global Warming Pause" The ocean appears to be absorbing excess heat. Brian Clark Howard National Geographic PUBLISHED APRIL 25, 2014
Although global temperatures have been rising over the past century, a slowdown in the rate of warming in the past few years has left some scratching their heads over a seeming "global warming pause." The suggestion that global warming has stopped is "nonsense," climatologist Richard Alley of Penn State University said last fall. The fact that the year 2012 was no warmer than 2002, he said, ignores the long-term trend of warming.
But scientists say that trend has been partially obscured by the ocean, which is likely absorbing the excess heat. A paper published in the journal Nature in August 2013 by staff of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, suggests the extra heat has been absorbed by the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean, aided by the warming and cooling cycles of weather patterns known as El Niño and La Niña. (See: "Is El Niño Back? Climate Scientists Forecast Its Arrival.") Another theory is that the deep, cold ocean has been absorbing the excess heat, says Jerry Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado (see video, above, produced by Earth Vision Trust). That process couldn't continue forever, as eventually the air above the ocean would resume warming as well. Yet another theory that doesn't discount ocean absorption of heat but may also help explain global warming pause was published in February the journal Nature Geoscience. The scientists suggested that 15 percent of the global warming pause could be attributed to the impact of active volcanoes, which spew ash and gas that can reflect the sun's heat back into space.
Recently Published Research Title: Water Security and Services in the Caribbean Author: Adrian Cashman Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
Publication Date: May 5, 2014
Source: Water – Open Access Journal Abstract:
The efficient management of water resources and services continues to be a concern in many of the small island states of the Caribbean. There are growing concerns
over the ability of governments in the region to ensure the good management and provision of water without jeopardizing economic growth and the maintenance of social well-being. This paper provides an overview of the major factors influencing the water security facing the Caribbean Region and how the emerging concerns are being addressed. The key challenges and vulnerabilities may be summarized as lack of data and barriers to making available what information there is. Forward planning has been largely neglected and is symptomatic of a lack of appreciation of the need for having national water policies. In this respect Jamaicaâ€™s development of a national master water plan serves as a good example of what is needed. Water service providers have to be efficient, well managed and allowed to do their job. This means that they have to be on a sound financial footing. The challenge is to find the balance between appropriate political and regulatory oversight and the autonomy of water managers and service providers.
Keywords: Caribbean; water resources; water resources management; water services; climate change; affordability
Published on May 5, 2014