Crisis in Haiti

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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...
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