The root causes of Kingston Harbour's problems are:
•Urbanization: approximately 800,000 of the national population
of 2.6 million now live in localities where their activities
can have direct impact upon the ecology of Kingston Harbour.
There are densities of over 18,000 persons /square mile in
some small areas of the Kingston Metropolitan Area.
The main degrading impacts on the harbour are eutrophication,
sedimentation, and solid waste build up.
•Landlocked Configuration: (the bay is almost landlocked)
•Relatively small Tidal Prism: the tide removes only one foot
of surface water, while the harbour is 60 feet at the deepest
point. The harbour therefore has a long flushing time.
•Scarcity of financial resources: Government has had difficulty
in mobilising resources to put in place measures to clean up
The most visible manifestation of the degradation of water
quality of the harbour is the frequent recurrence of local
eutrophication, a condition which develops when there is excessive
fertilization of a body of water.
This leads to depletion of oxygen, causing general deterioration
of water quality, foul odour, taste, and decline of biodiversity.
The eutrophication of Kingston Harbour is caused mainly by
poorly treated/untreated sewage, industrial and household effluents
and solid waste, agrochemicals, and impacts from ship traffic.
"Red Tidea" or algae bloom is the extreme stage of eutrophication.