Kingston Harbour is a semi- enclosed bay situated on the south coast of Jamaica. It is approximately 16.5km long and between 2.7 and 6.5 km wide; covering an area of more than 51km2 (Wade et al.,1972). Kingston Harbour is one of the most polluted harbours in the Caribbean and with an increasing population rate in Metropolitan Kingston found north of the Harbour, it poses an immediate threat to the marine community. Kingston Harbour is lined with several manufacturing complexes and is also a major trans-shipment port and as such plays an important role in the supply of goods for the island as well as the earning of foreign exchange. The degree of pollution suffered by Kingston Harbour has important consequences for those using it, and as pollution levels increase, discharge into Kingston Harbour has also affected the nearby Port Royal Cays (Webber et al., 1996).
Kingston Harbour is frequently affected by freshwater from different sources depending on the prevalent weather conditions. In 1976, Wade estimated that 662km2 of land drained directly into the Hunts Bay and only 52km2 drained into the inner harbour. Since then, an increase in development of urban areas and changes in land use patterns have taken place, however the impact of these drainage systems remains significant through time (Goodbody, 2003). The major fluvial inputs to the harbour are in the region of Hunt’s Bay where Rio Cobre, Duhaney River and the Sandy Gully drainage system enter.
Aerial view of Kingston Harbour with the Norman Manley International Airport highlighted