Every region of the world faces some form of serious environmental issues. Whether it be pollution, overpopulation, wildlife extinction, or the many other issues we are faced with; it is time for us to make a plan towards a future for our planet. With living in the United States, we often do not have exposure to the issues affecting many parts of the world except through television. However, we need to personally expose ourselves to other regions as their problems can lead to everyone’s problem. One region we need to learn more about is Haiti.
Haiti is a country that is very underdeveloped, and could use assistance – whether it is labor or ideas from other developed countries. Their environmental issues need attention in order to catch up with the rest of the world. Some of the issues that face the country of Haiti are deforestation and water pollution. These issues seem to be hindering the development and advancement with this region. Besides the economic development, the governments lack of knowledge is effecting the citizens. Once a lush tropical island, Haiti has suffered mass deforestation.
There is only a remaining three percent that has been left untouched – as of now. (www. earthfamily. com) The deforestation of Haiti has been caused by poverty, overpopulation, lack of technical knowledge; but has been accelerated as a result of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. It is estimated, that by 2008, there will be no tree cover anywhere to be found in Haiti. (www. countrystudies. us) Numerous studies have shown that poverty is often related to environmental degradation. (www. american. edu) Many of the countries citizens can only financially survive through farming.
In addition to this, a majority of the country lives below the poverty. So in turn, deforestation has to be done at this stage in order for families to survive. However, developing countries, including Haiti, keep the poor landless by taking away their land from them for the more economically stable farmers. For the poor farmers who do own land, they often are forced to sell their crops as quickly as possible to gain a profit and grow more crops. Haiti has also been faced with overpopulation. With a population of just over 8. 7 million people, they are ranked eighty-ninth in the world. (www.
indexmundi. com) Their population has grown by over one million in the last four years. With this surge in population, deforestation has occurred to make room for this growth. Additionally, with a fertility rate of 4. 86, they are currently ranked thirty-fifth overall in the world. With all of these factors, the country is growing out of control and out of the normal habited regions. Another problem in which Haiti faces is their lack of technical knowledge due to being such an underdeveloped country. Haiti also lacks in quality planting material, production, and marketing. (www. oreworld.
org) They do not have the resources to utilize the land they have set aside for farming – instead they destroy more trees to make new farming areas. They refer to this as “slash and burn farming”. This type of farming not only destroys the trees, but as well as the beneficial top soil. Another problem in which Haiti is faced with is water pollution. In Haiti, the government has not designed nor designated an entity to create a wastewater or public sewage system in their country. It many areas throughout the country, the citizens are forced to bathe in rivers and streams contaminated with human and animal waste.
Additionally, many farmers are forced to collect water from common-source areas, which are shared by all of their neighbors. This limits the water that is available for their crops. Lastly, because of the deforested areas, there is no protection from floods and rains, which causes additional contamination to water areas. With the government not having any mandates in place, this is leading to serious disaster for the country of Haiti as a whole. The only solution that they have provided to their citizens is to how to use bleach to chlorinate it, but many of their citizens do not have the money to but bleach.
(Brown, D. , 2006) The government does not have the means to keep water safe for their citizens. Even though there are two state-owned public institutions, CAMEP (Centrale Autonome Metropolitaine d’Eau Potable) and SNEP (Service National d’Eau Potable), that are responsible for the water sector. (www. en. wikipedia. org) They do not cover, nor does anyone else, the sanitation issues in Haiti. The only water sources that do exist are shared by everyone. Farmers use it for their crops, and families use it for bathing, drinking, and cleaning dishes. Most of the time, they utilize rivers and streams.
Instead of looking for new water sources, they are harming their bodies by using common sources. In addition to this, farmer’s water sources are being depleted because it is being used by every farmer within the local region. This causes many farmers to have to walk several miles for other shared water sources. As talked about previously, there is a sever problem with deforestation in Haiti. This major deforestation leads to Haiti’s issue of water pollution. With the fact that there are no trees to absorb much of the rainfall, it falls to the ground.
This causes the rich top soil to wash away into the local streams and rivers. This then contaminates the water for the people as well as the marine life that inhabits the water. This is one of the larger reasons their people are becoming sick and their marine resources are becoming depleted. All of these factors are leading towards a disastrous future for Haiti. However, there are solutions to this problem. Haiti has received aid from the United States and many other sources, but this doesn’t seem to do any good. The government is not using their resources and gifts in a way which promotes development and sustainability.
We need to implement other solutions in order to sustain the countries future. In regards to the issue of deforestation, Haiti really needs to utilize the land they have already destroyed and save the remaining three percent that has remained untouched thus far. Haiti has already created national parks to save the remaining forests (Foret des Pins, Parc La Visite, Parc Historique La Citadelle, and Parc Macaya). These parks are located all over the country, but they are still struggling to survive (www. earthfamily. com) We need to figure out why they are struggling.
It could be because the government is not giving any assistance to keeping the national parks whole and not destroying portions that they may need. In order to make way for future development, the government should really learn from more developed countries and “reinvent” already established areas instead of destroying forests to make the room they need. Another solution for the problem of deforestation is to definitely plant new trees in the areas where the government has destroyed, but have yet to build on. This solution could prove to be a little costly, but Haiti could definitely campaign for help from other countries.
Back in 2005, the Inter-American Development Bank approved a $5 million loan to improve economic governance. (www. usinfo. state. gov) I believe that if Haiti really puts this money to good use and shows the rest of the world that they can really improve the deforestation that has occurred, more loans and assistance can become available. In regards to water pollution, it is another problem that lies in the hands of the government. Their main goal for improvement should just be the health and mortality reduction of their people. The water pollution has been the main cause of illness and death in their country.
Instead of the government providing a solution that the citizens do on their own, they need to take the reigns on this issue themselves. The only solutions to the water pollution will prove costly. They cannot improve their water conditions without a proper water treatment plant, piping system, and water filtration or purification. They could find companies that could donate their time and services, but Haiti (again) would have to prove their dedication to this cause. They need to get their citizens out of the stream and rivers, and give them a local clean water source.
Another way to look for solutions is to look at other countries and regions where they have faced and overcame some of the same or similar problems. One region where these problems were overcome was Vietnam. In Vietnam, the economic development and urbanization is taking place so rapidly that the environment is suffering though deforestation and pollution. (Hoc, Dr. D. , 2007) Vietnam is growing very rapidly and they have destroyed forests for use as agriculture areas. Besides the deforestation this causes; the soil is also eroded and washed into the Dong Nai River basin.
Due to these issues, the solutions that they have created were creating reservoirs and supplement groundwater. They figure that if they have water, then they have forests. Also, by keeping development concentration in more industrial areas, they can cut down on the more rural, but resource-rich areas. Haiti has a long way to go to stabilize their country. They really need help from other countries, whether it is monetary or development assistance. They cannot get this help if the government doesn’t show that they will put this help to good use.
The government needs to restructure themselves first and their country second. Haiti, with being the poorest and most undeveloped country in the world needs to find solutions to these issues to survive. If they do not make this a priority, their country has a very grim future. References Background and Response, (2006), Background on Haiti. Retrieved September 29, 2007 from www. oreworld. org Brown, N. , (2004), The Washington Post Company, Haiti’s Never-Ending Thirst Lack of Potable Water Is Chief Among Woes. Retrieved September 26, 2007 from
www. wehaitians. com CIA World Factbook, (2007), Haiti Population. Retrieved September 29, 2007 from www. indexmundi. com Earthy Family, (2004), Current Issues of Haiti. Retrieved September 27, 2007 from www. earthyfamily. com Hoc, Dr. D. , (2007), Water Resources and Sustainable Use of Water Resources in Dong Nai River Basin. Retrieved September 29, 2007 from www. ccb. ucar. edu International Information Programs, (2005), Haiti Receives $5 Million Loan to Enhance Economic Governance. Retrieved September 30, 2007 from www. usinfo. state. gov