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CFBC team engages in novel air pollution research with Yale University

By CFBC team

“There’s the assumption that the Caribbean doesn’t have any significant air pollution but fieldwork over the past few years has shown otherwise. This now means we need to start gathering baseline data and looking at trends” stated Dr Leighton Naraine as he discussed the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College’s (CFBC) most recent peer-reviewed publication with Yale University.

The newly minted Yale University – CFBC peer-reviewed international publication on air pollution in St Kitts and Nevis was completed in partnership with CFBC alumnus Dr Steve Whittaker and his Yale University team. The CFBC research team included Dr Quincy Edwards, Dr Leighton Naraine, J’eneille Scarborough (CFBC Alumna), and Darnel Allen (RxGen St Kitts and Nevis – CFBC Alumnus), with contributions from CFBC chemistry and environmental science students.

The opportunity to partner on this publication was birthed through a collaborative research initiative between CFBC and Yale University, specifically through Dr Steve Whittaker who is an alumnus of CFBC. He saw the importance of giving back to his alma mater in the form of scientific research development. Subsequently, he contacted Dr Edwards as he was interested in conducting air quality research in St Kitts and Nevis as part of his doctoral dissertation. This allowed for CFBC students to be involved in the research process and have access to modern air quality equipment they generally would not have had.

When asked to expound on the innovativeness of this research, Dr Naraine explained that “while we have spatial and temporal variabilities of urban air pollutants in St Kitts and Nevis that have been investigated in this research project, they’re mainly done in more developed and industrialized nations in the world such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and China.

As far as we know, there is no leading or significant study of air pollution in the Caribbean and based on our literature search it’s the first of its kind in St Kitts and Nevis. The information gathered from this study has provided new information on a range of air pollutants and their sources are pretty understudied in the Eastern Caribbean, so this study is very significant, innovative and novel.”

Dr Edwards in highlighting what he hoped this data would be used for, explained that “many Eastern Caribbean islands lack air quality networks which could give insight into the change in air quality as a result of urban development features in relation to air pollution levels. The information gathered from this research can help in the establishment of air quality monitoring systems for St Kitts and Nevis and the results have the ability to offer insight for future air pollutant health studies and a context for policymakers.”

The information from the study will be shared with the department of environment, the ministries of health and sustainable development and all other relevant bodies.

Drs Edwards and Naraine, who are known for other peer-reviewed research publications, expressed their sincerest gratitude to Dr Whittaker for giving back to his alma mater by sharing his knowledge and equipment to help CFBC strengthen its research profile.

The chairman of the CFBC board of governors Reverend Damien E. Hughes stated: “Undoubtedly, this is a clear example that at CFBC we have and have always had faculty and staff who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in and the rest of the world.This publication not only adds to the accolades of the College but it also highlights the partnerships that are critical to establishing our footprint on the regional and global academic and research landscapes.”

CFBC president Dr Jaqueline Austin added to the commendations showered on the research team: “Your commitment to the advancement of knowledge through research aligns with CFBC’s goals to make a global impact and to advance research on issues confronting small island developing states with lessons for other contexts.

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this research is indeed timely. Across the world, we see a significant reduction in pollution during this period of lockdown and this is good news for our carbon footprint. Such research initiatives are in sync with our commitment to continued community engagement. “

This international publication shows the great potential that CFBC has in relation to research, innovation and consultancy opportunities and will strengthen the research capacity of CFBC for faculty and students.

The team is currently in the process of writing other publications and are hoping their work can be published by the year 2021.



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