PRESS RELEASE – St Lucia is hoping in the medium to long-term,develop of a national plan to address air quality issues as to date, there has been little or no targeted research in the area of indoor/outdoor air quality and thus, there is little or no specific empirical data available.
The island joins the observance of Interamerican Day of Air Quality (DIAIRE) today August 14, 2015 to highlight the importance of preventing and reducing harm to health and the environment caused by the deterioration of air quality.
Air pollution is defined by the presence of contaminants or pollutant substances in the air that interfere with human health or welfare, or produce other harmful environmental effects.
Sources of air pollution can be both natural and man- made. Man-made air pollution stems from a range of human activities such as burning fossil fuels (for transport and electricity generation), use of household and farming chemicals and emissions from industries and manufacturing activities.
These activities all contribute to a gradual degradation in outdoor air quality.
With regard to indoor air quality, a major influence is the increased number of poorly designed buildings which lack appropriate ventilation with clean fresh air can to reduce levels of indoor air pollution.
Natural sources and processes of air pollution include naturally occurring forest fires, volcano ash and airborne transport of Sahara dust.
Air pollution harms people, animals, and the environment, causing both long-term and short-term effects. Adverse effects of air pollution on our health include, but are not limited to, chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, the worsening of bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, decreased lung function, permanent scarring of lung tissue and premature death.
Air pollution, particularly ground level ozone is a major aggravation to ecosystems as it can interfere with the ability of sensitive plants to produce and store food and cancause visible damage to leaves of trees and other plants, harming the appearance of vegetation.
In addition to reduced tree growth and visible injury to leaves, continued ozone exposure over time can lead to increased susceptibility of sensitive plant species to disease, damage from insects, effects of other pollutants, competition, and harm from severe weather.
These effects can also induce loss of species diversity and changes to habitat quality and water and nutrient cycles.
Air pollution is not specifically addressed in national law as an environmental concern and there are no nationally accepted standards in effect.
Fortunately, the Government of Saint Lucia intends to address this issue by implementing appropriate policies and measures to address the sources of air pollution and to attenuate their impacts.
At national level, the Government will take the lead in ensuring the existence of an appropriately robust and effective policy, regulatory and institutional environment.
At the regional and international levels, the Government of Saint Lucia would seek to participate in conventions or other processes that contribute to the promotion of good air quality.
There are several steps we can take individually to help reduce air pollution including reducing vehicular emissions by practicing carpooling, using environmentally friendly cleaners, sealing containers of household cleaners and chemical solvents and avoiding excessive idling of your automobile.
Clean air is essential to maintaining the delicate balance of life on this planet.