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Elections: will the environment be an issue?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:02 am
by Charles Arthur
6 September 2005

In the run-up to the elections in Haiti, will candidates be asked for their policies to deal with Haiti's envrionmental crisis?

What will be their position on agrarian reform? On reforestation and soil erosion?

What do they propose to do to prevent a repeat of the Mapou and Gonaives flood disasters?

What about mandatory deposits on drink bottles? All Haiti's towns and cities are strewn with plastic bottles leading to serious health and environmental problems (see below). If the new government were to impose mandatory deposits on these bottles, citizens would be motivated to collect the bottles rather than throw them away (also helping with poverty alleviation). A safe plastic re-cycling industry would have to be developed too (supported by UNIDO?).

In New York, mandatory deposits on drink bottles and cans were introduced in 1983, which is estimated to have reduced litter in the state by 75%.

Is there any way that concerned indivuiduals and organisations can make environmental questions into an issue in Haiti's coming election? Could we draw up a list of questions to be submitted to candidates and parties? Even if they refused to answer, the media could publicise the issue.

Please get back to me with your thoughts.

Charles Arthur
Haiti Support Group


The Problem of Plastics in Haiti

http://www.ecologycenter.org/iptf/south ... eport.html

(extract)

Because of inadequate refuse collection and disposal systems in Haiti, plastic wastes are commonly dealt with in several ways: terrestrial disposal, disposal into streams, canals and rivers (these can be referred to as direct disposal)or by burning (incineration). Each has serious consequences. Plastic bags, juice, and water bottles are discarded onto the ground when the consumer has finished with them. A simple survey of Port-au-Prince illustrates this fact. Streets, gutters, fields and unused areas are rife with pollution. Because plastics are not biodegradable, they remain at their point of disposal until moved by the wind or by the rain. In the case of the latter, plastics (especially in cities like Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, and other ocean-side villages) wash downhill and are eventually deposited in the sea. Other plastics commingle with other waste materials in gutters and drainage pathways. These form miniature dams and water flow obstructions that disrupts sewage and run-off systems and cause serious urban flooding.

Once the plastic wastes exit the city into the sea they create numerous other problems. Fish mistake bits of plastic waste for plankton and other aquatic life. As a consequence, fishermen complain that their catch has decreased—fish have been suffocating on plastic wastes that were mistaken as edible food. After continual poor catches, fish were dissected to reveal plastic wastes clogging their intestines. Consequently, the random disposal of plastics into the environment has repercussions for fishermen who rely upon the bounty of the sea to make a living.

There exists another popular means of waste disposal. Across Haiti, one can see vast clouds of black smoke rising from households and market places. These smoke clouds come from burning piles of garbage, both organic and inorganic, and are a serious cause of airborne pollution. While incineration of wastes (in this case community burning or “back yard” burning) appears appealing (the volume of tangible wastes shrinks by up to 80%), it is perhaps the most damaging method of waste disposal from a human health perspective. When plastics are burned they release a deadly mix of chemicals to the atmosphere notably dioxin and other poisonous chemicals (CO2, CO, SO2).

Dioxin particles are carried by the wind until they drop onto land or water. We now know that dioxin can travel thousands of miles. Grazing animals and fish ingest the toxin, but they can not break it down, so it travels up the food chain. Ninety Percent of human exposure to dioxin occurs through diets of meat, dairy products and fish. …every person has some amount of dioxin in their body.[

Le projet

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:05 am
by Charles Arthur
8 Septembre 2005

Le Nouvelliste

Une alternative à l'insalubrité des rues


Ce mercredi 7 septembre 2005 à l'hôtel Montana, la Fondation Haitienne de l'Environnement (FHE) en partenariat avec le ministère de l'Environnement, les mairies de Cité Soleil et de Pétion-Ville, la Banque de l'Union Haitienne (BUH) et des organisations de base des deux communes, a organisé une rencontre dans le but de promouvoir son programme de récyclage des déchets plastiques des différents quartiers défavorisés de Port-au-Prince, dans le cadre de son projet "lave je Pòtoprens".

Après la présentation du projet par l'agronome Ketty Paquiot de la FHE, la réunion à laquelle ont participé plusieurs représentants d'institutions a généré un débât très animé en raison des différentes questions et appréhensions soulevées par les nombreux participants.

Selon les initiateurs du programme, celui-ci répondra aux multiples défis posés par les déchets provenant de ces matières plastiques qui seront transformées en d'autres objets ménagers utiles.

Les appréhensions des personnes présentes à cette réunion portent surtout sur la réelle capacité de cette entreprise à maintenir l'équilibre entre l'offre et la demande au niveau national, la quantité et le type d'énergie à utiliser et ses coûts, le prix à payer par la population en ce qui a trait à la pollution dans les lieux de production.

A en croire les panélistes, cette initiative de la Fédération Haitienne de l'Environnement ne fait pas automatiquement de l'institution un opérateur industriel mais un agent instigateur pour la création d'opportunités d'emplois .

Mis à part les responsables de la FHE, d'autres personnalités concernées par le sujet sont intervenues au cours de cette rencontre tels MM. Corneille Jean Jorel et Maurice Prosper respectivement maires de Cité Soleil et de Pétion-Ville et Daniel Brisard, Directeur général du ministère de l'Environnement.

______________________________________

Forwarded as a service of the Haiti Support Group - solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle for human rights, participatory democracy and equitable development - since 1992.

Web site: www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org

La Fondation Haitienne pour l'Environnement?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:08 am
by Charles Arthur
Does anyone know anything about the Fondation Haitienne pour la Science, la Technologie et l'Environnement which I think is the same as the Fondation Haitienne pour l'Environnement?

I understand it was founded by Daniel Brisard, who is currently Directeur général du Ministère de l'Environnement.

thanks

Charles

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:17 am
by Leonel JB
Charles, what a great subject. Indeed, it is an emergency to take care of our environment in Haiti. You've touched so many problems with our environment which would take a while to cover at least one third of the problems. Waste management is actually the world worries, actually.

With regard to Haiti, we would need the government to implement some very rigid laws. For instance, littering would be considered as a very big offense. Even if your name is Mews or ti sonson. There should be a fee and repeated offenders can go to Jail for such offenses.

Then, you would need a site which should be outside of the cities where you can collect the trashes. You would also require the Recycling Law, where everything that is recyclable should be recycled.

Dumping should be illegal. And, hazardous materials should be handled by experts(pharmaceutical wastes, blood from hospitals etc). Pwenn fE pa. Ke ou te rele kesedjo ou byen kesekwan, you could lose your license or businesses for such offenses.

You would need the Rules of Law. A government Legal who would respect the Country and his Citizens. Noone should be above all.

Now, let's talk about one of the biggest concerns in Haiti, in term of wastes. WatE bwa should be abolished.

YOu would need a reliable and efficient Water Treatment Plant. Not a Camep style one. But, one who could take the drinkable water from a River or lake, treat it accordingly, before submitting it to the Clients. There is a lot of testings involved in this process. Then, A Receiver (Water Treatment) to get the wastes and treat them as well. By the way, some of the solids can be used as fertilizers, with also a lot of testings to have a very low toxicity level. The treated liquid wastes are returned to the ocean or lakes.

Like, I said, this would take a long time to pinpoint how one would go with the environment which a lot of people neglected. This is a real problem, and I am not gonna leave the MREs alone on that one. For, they lived in Developed Countries. They know how things are done. But yet, they can cope with the environmental problems in Haiti. They think that when there is an environmental disaster, they won't be affected. ADje!

Have you seen those beautiful homes without a sewage system or Water? They prefer to buy Water from The big trucks. How about the waste water, what do they do with it? Dump it somewhere, maybe?

Anyway, let me pass the torch to someone else at WOH University...

L'union fait la force,
leonel

will the environment be an issue?

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:24 pm
by KpAshmore
Reply to jafrikayiti:

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

[quote]1) The environmental challenges facing Haiti is a serious matter that would only be trivialized if introduced in the upcoming electoral farce.[/quote]

AGREED. THESE PROBLEMS HAVE EXISTED FOR DECADES AND ARE NOT GOING TO BE RESOLVED IN A FEW MONTHS (OR A FEW YEARS)

[quote]2) There are too many fake environmental organizations in Haiti that are front to serve foreign political interests.[/quote]

AMEN!

[quote]3) Contradictions abound when one looks at the behaviour of so-called "environmentalists" in Haiti and the texts they write. Example, in the recent PBS advertisement for Guy Phillipe and his MRE bosses who conducted the bicentennial coup, one could see this rich guy driving his highly polluting vehicle up the mountain, throwing dirt and smoke in th
e face of the peasant women sitting on the ground....yet he was there to lecture them about how to protect the environment - totally oblivious and believing in his self-projected status of Cantave knows best....It was apparent when he declared unembarrassed "we cannot give power to these people until they get educated".[/quote]

YES THEIR PRETENTIOUSNESS TOTALLY DISGUSTED ME. (I CALLED THE PROGRAM THE "GUY PHILIPPE SHOW" BUT YOUR DESCRIPTION OF "PBS ADVERTISEMENT FOR GUY" FITS IT EVEN BETTER.)

[quote]4) I lived such contradictions personally when I was in Haiti in 97-98 working with the current puppet Minister of Environment. A myriad of workshops on environmental matters have been, are and will be organized - and most of them in French or English - discussing past the people - as if it was Tarzan and Jane discussing among themselves how to save the natives. When in 98 I wrote my reports to the Minister in Kreyol after having decided to facilitate the worshops in Kreyol, I was looked upon as if I were the weird one. And, yes, then also, the Minister had met with the so-called want-to-do-gooders from the MRE sector. They spoke French around a table full of fine foods. I took notes and then, wind, more wind. Nothing but wind.[/quote]

YES, PATRONIZING WIND.

[quote]5) WITHOUT POLITICAL STABILITY ALL THIS TALK IS NOTHING BUT WIND

So, in conclusion, I think all these EU and USAID-funded environmentalists who keep investing in the destabilisation of our society - those who helped the bicentennial coup to occur - while talking crap about the need to do this or that to save the trees and the mosquitoes from extinction are only blowing wind.[/quote]

THE GOALS OF EU AND USAID FUNDED GROUPS AND WHAT HAITI ACTUALLY NEEDS ARE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED.

BTW, I WORK WITH THE LAMBI FUND OF HAITI AND WE ONLY:

1) SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS THAT ARE CONCEIVED, LED AND IMPLEMENTED BY PEASANTS,

2) DO ALL OF OUR TRAINING IN KREYOL, AND

3) DO NOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM EU, USAID OR SIMILAR EXPLOITIVE FUNDERS.

Karen Ashmore
Lambi Fund of Haiti
www.lambifund.org

Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:59 pm
by KpAshmore
Yes, Jaf, I just got several emails about Kevin's arrest....scary times! I forwarded the emails to friends who are fans of Kevin but do not always keep up with the latest in Haiti (Black Commentator readers). Hopefully he will be released soon.
Karen

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:17 pm
by Hyppolite
First of, thank you Guy for suggesting I visit the "Environment" section.

I just read the hands-on experience of K. Ashmore on the issue and, I am not sure where one can start when it comes to Haiti. Jaf talks about the prostitution of the issue if it's debated during elections time but still, Haiti's environmental degradation is such a serious issue that one has to consider debating it.

How do you debate an issue, of such vital importance, in a language or languages that people do not, cannot understand? The environment issue in Haiti is not even a political issue, as far as I'm concerned: it's a vital issue because, unless tackled seriously, honestly, and methodically, this land of ours will simply sink, and we will all go with it perhaps under the sea, perhaps to the ravines through the mountains. Doesn't matter whether rich or poor.

There's been some reference to this gentleman on the PBS show as well, (I believe it was Serge Cantave) last week Tuesday, who was trying to help peasants how to reforest. Despite his attitude and also some comments made, I think it's still relevant that at least some effort is being made.

I've also visited the Lambi Fund website and have gotten the gist of their effort. Laudable it is of course, but still it makes no noise. Perhaps in their next bulletin, the Lambi Fund could focus a bit more on their truly organic effort in this respect, and invite more perhaps from the Diaspora to go and help at certain periods of time. Perhaps as a relevant interest group, the Lambi Fund could try to work with people in the next legislature, during open forum, to force them to at least take some concrete and necessary steps to work toward improving the environment in a much more organic fashion. That I believe, is entirely feasible if the right thinking is there and the necessary actions are taken. In fact, I am sure that this may be the best way to strategize when it comes to this issue.

This is how serious our environmental degradation is.

Last year, it was Fond Verrettes that basically disappeared. And then we had our own tsunami in the Artibonite region that same year, where hundreds if not thousands had died. Yet, those in Haiti with the logistical capacity to help seem utterly amorphous to the danger for all society. Do we need a catastrophic event like what happen in New Orleans this year, to wake up and smell the coffee? Would we, despite it all (God forbid), continue on according to our old ways?

For those interested in the issue of recycling plastic waste

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:48 am
by Charles Arthur
[quote]Vers la rentabilisation des déchets plastiques en Haiti

Le Nouvelliste 9 Septembre 2005

La réunion organisée par la Fondation Haitienne de l'Environnement (FHE) à l'hôtel Montana le mercredi 7 septembre 2005 dans le cadre du projet "Lave Je Pòtoprens" qui vise à recycler des déchets plastiques dans les quartiers défavorisés de Pétion-ville et de Cité Soleil avait pour objectif de faire la promotion, de présenter l'expérience effectuée à Cité Soleil et de susciter l'intérêt de la communauté concernée directement par l'environnement et le phénomène de l'insalubrité.

Environ 80 institutions ont été représentées dont des établissements publics, des institutions privées oeuvrant dans le secteur de l'environnement, des organisations non gouvernementales, des entreprises commerciales, des ambassades et des partis politiques.

Les différents délégués des institutions présentes ont constitué une assemblée active et apparamment très intéressée par les explications fournies par les panélistes sur le fonctionnement, l'évolution et l'orientation dudit programme.

D'entrée de jeu, Kesner Pharel, vice-président du Conseil de la FHE, Joël Ducasse et Mme Ketty Paquiot ont su combler les attentes et les appréhensions de l'assistance composée de personnalités qui se connaissent en la matiére et sont très sensibles à la question.

Ils ont procédé à la mise en contexte du projet, dévoilé les principes retenus, défini le cadre des modalités, présenté le budget et indiqué les résultats escomptés en partageant avec l'assistance les plans déjà proposés à la concrétisation du projet. Du discours tenu par les responsables, on peut facilement retenir qu'ils veulent faciliter la création d'emplois en vue de soustraire une frange importante (les jeunes particulièrement) de la population à la misère.

Les organisateurs ont mis l'emphase sur la nécessité de coupler le projet avec une campagne d'éducation pour gérer ses déchets. Ils disent évaluer à environ 60% les déchets plastiques valorisables de la quantité globale des immondices qui nuisent à l'environnement et la population d'Haiti. Un taux qui favorise plus de 2.000 tonnes l'an de matières nettes et dont la moitié est constituée de polyéthylène.

Ils estiment que la population est très intéressée à ce projet en raison de la solidarité manifestée par les gens de Cité Soleil lors d'une opération antérieure effectuée dans la zone,et de l'apport financier du projet aux familles necessiteuses.

Dans cet exposé, les panélistes révèlent que les partenaires qui opèrent au sein de ce programme sont l'USAID, le ministère de l'environnement, la National gaz Station, le Tropical recycling SA, l'Union Européenne, les mairies de Pétion-Ville et de Cité Soleil, la Banque de l'Union Haitienne et les Organisations communautaires des deux communes.

S'agissant du traitement, celui-ci se fera par déchiquettage, lavage, boyage et d'extrusion.

Le projet de recyclage projette de transformer 300 tonnes par an dans un bâtiment de 144 m2 situé sur un terrain de 400 m2 qui se rapproche du centre de Pétion-Ville et un axe routier.

Ce qui, selon des panélistes, favorisera un environnement plus commode avec les rues et les ravines assainies et des risques d'inondations réduits, l'amélioration du niveau socio-économique d'un certain groupe d'individus de la population en proie aux aléas de l'oisiveté; ils prévoient de fournir 49 emplois dans la collecte et le traitement.

Les initiateurs du projet de recyclage des déchets plastiques affirment que le projet se développera de manière à améliorer les conditions de la population. C'est-à-dire qu'il doit favoriser un plus grand nombre de gens à trouver un emploi au point que la demande des produits fabriqués à partir du recyclage devienne proportionnelle par rapport à l'offre des entreprises.

Ils estiment que l'impact des opérations sur l'environnement sera négligeable par le fait que la quantité de chaleur qui sera dégagée en provenance des lieux de transformation ne sera pas importante tout en faisant ressortir la vocation de la fondation de lutter contre la dégradation de l'environnement.

Lima Soirélus[/quote]

For those interested in the Fondation Haitienne de L'Environ

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:52 am
by Charles Arthur
[quote]FHE (Fondation Haitienne de L'Environnement/The Haitian Environmental Foundation), founded in 1999, is led by Jean Andre Victor, Haiti's most prominent agronomist. The foundation focuses on educational programs, teaching farmers soil conservation methods (and ways to finance them). Another program develops alternatives to charcoal, such as briquettes made from recycled paper, and encourages charcoal and wood consumers (like bakeries) to switch to alternative fuels. [/quote]

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/shows ... book4.html



[10 Septembre 05, Signal FM][quote] Le PLH se met au pas dans la perspective des élections

Le Parti Libéral Haitien, selon Michel Gehy, participera aux prochaines joutes électorales au niveau local, municipal et législatif.

Pour sa part, le coordonnateur pour le recherche et le développement du Parti Libéral Haitien, Jean André Victor, a procédé à la présentation de ce qu'il appelle : " option de changement durable ".

Ainsi, a-t-il démontré qu'il y avait une sorte d'adéquation entre la demande et l'offre politique en Haiti.

Selon Jean André Victor, le programme du parti se résume en trois grands points : création d'infrastructures de base, éducation et environnement.[/quote]

http://www.signalfmhaiti.com/signal_news1sept1005.htm

environment strategy

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:08 am
by KpAshmore
I can only understand kreyol and English (I am not as smart as you tri and quadri-lingual guys) but I think I got the gist of the posts in French. The meeting about the recycling of plastic sounds great – and long overdue. Great start!

The three points by Jean André Victor are well made -- it can also be extended to look at preventive and intervention approaches. Preventively, sustainable agriculture using bio-intensive and organic farming techniques are critical for moving in the direction of restoring the land and its soil conservation. Reforesting depleted lands and agro forestry are no-brainer strategies that are essential, too.

For an intervention, it is imperative to come up with innovative alternatives to charcoal that are accepted by the peasantry such as the briquettes made from recycled paper. We (Lambi Fund) are also looking at briquettes made from kann by-products from the milling process. (We have funded a number of peasant–run sugar cane mills and there is a lot of waste left over from making siwo and klerin.)

In addition, we must look at the globalization and domination by G-8 nations of agricultural products and how subsidies and market flooding affect farmers in Haiti and other developing countries. Yes, policy and practice must be linked to make agriculture affordable and sustainable in Haiti, with a focus on environment as a direct cause and effect on its sustainability. This is a long term process and will take both a local community based strategy in conjunction with a national policy strategy. Lambi Fund specializes in the local community based piece; unfortunately our expertise does not lie in the national policy piece (our program staff consists entirely of Haitian agronomists, trainers and community organizers).

More importantly, the planning and implementation needs to be in the hands of the oganizasyon peyizan or change simply will not happen. That is why organizational development of the peyizan and plantè groups is an important part of the whole picture. A strong oganizasyon peyizan with well-trained local leaders will be much more successful in implementing and sustaining these practices. Through training and leadership, we are starting to see change. For example, we passed a new policy that all organizations that we partner with must plant a minimum of 500 trees. Most of our partners have stepped up to the plate and have committed to planting more than 10,000 trees!

All of these reasons are why FHE, Lambi Fund and other similar grassroots organizations are the keys to successful implementation rather than organizations that have other underlying motives (such as USAID funded groups, evangelical religious organizations, etc). Is there an organization that is addressing the national environmental and agricultural policy strategy without being seduced by the usual maladies that pervade national politics in Haiti? Is that what LPH is doing? Mwen pa konprann --wish my French was better.

But I still like the quote from Josette Perard, the Haiti Director of the Lambi Fund (and one of the few woman NGO leaders in Haiti), “If you look at the unrest in Haiti, you realize that real change must come from beneath the surface. It must come from the majority poor, from the peasants. Not from the politicians. Not from the elite. And not from foreign governments. Sustainability happens when we open our hands, drop seeds into good soil, and provide what it needs to take root and grow.”

Karen Ashmore
Lambi Fund of Haiti
www.lambifund.org

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:44 pm
by T-dodo
[quote]In my humble opinion, there is an environmental emergency in Haiti today that requires knowhow, patriotism, creativity, boldness and courage. [/quote]

Jaf,

As far as I can observe, you are absolutely right. And, I will take the risk here and state that any administration or party who does not make the environment part of their priorities in Haiti is not serious or perhaps capable of managing the country. Even under Jean-Claude Duvalier, in Jeremie, it was already a crime to cut certain trees in some areas to make charcoal. I am not saying that is only how we are going to stop the decline and restore environmental luster, but it was an acknowledgement of the environmental disaster that Jaf talked about and an effort at stopping it.