A national project is needed to tackle the challenges of sewage in Haiti. A national sewer system will protect the public against certain preventable diseases, and at the same time create countless new jobs that currently do not exist.
This current Haitian government has set its sights on tourism, which could get a great boost from the creation of a sewage network that can tackle the unpleasant smell and the infestation of mosquitoes and flies throughout some of the country’s major cities.
A sewage system will also help the country in its fight to eradicate cholera, and render the job of public health officials a little easier.
In today’s Haiti, the idea of nation building must focus on the post-earthquake notion that Haiti must build back better.
In order to do so, some of the basic necessities for decent living conditions must be met. As I wrote in a previous post regarding Haiti’s water crisis, many were hoping that a new Haiti would arise from the debris of the earthquake.
It is incomprehensible that the vast majority of Haitians are left unprotected against raw sewage; the whole country, which is vulnerable to hurricanes, does not have the proper infrastructure to deal with torrential rainfall.
The lack of a suitable sewage system is one of the most preventable threats facing Haitians. This basic service, which every city of the developed world takes for granted, could not only alleviate many ordinary public health problems; it could cut in half the number of Haitian deaths from natural causes, according to this report.
Currently, raw sewage is everywhere in Haiti, so much so it is just a normal part of the environment. There are very few waste water pipes anywhere in the country, and construction of waste water treatment facilities are not a priority.
Dirty water flows in all directions, everywhere people live and work: homes, residential buildings, hospitals and commercial facilities. It all winds up mixed together, often in closely packed population centers, where it speeds the growth of deadly bacteria and insects.
There are places in Haiti, where the only source of water is completely contaminated with raw sewage, and the lack of access to clean water leaves those people with no choice but to risk their health by drinking the contaminated water.
How do we rebuild a nation back better with no national plan to deal with raw sewage and to build the necessary infrastructure to protect the population against torrential floods?
A national project to build a modern sewer system would benefit the whole nation, but more immediately it can create thousands of temporary new jobs alongside hundreds of permanent jobs. It could give the country the needed economic boost that would allow it to address some of its more pressing needs such as money to reform the national police, investments in agriculture, education and public health.
More than 2 billion dollars have already been spent on reconstruction projects, and very little can be seen in term of sustainable effects. A national sewage and sanitary project could start the domino effect to make Haiti an emerging country by the year 2030.
It is very difficult to understand when the authorities mention Haiti’s reconstruction what exactly they have in mind. How can anyone reconstruct a nation, when there is no plan to deal with raw sewage, and there is no access to clean water for the average Haitian?
There is money now to ensure adequate sewage and water infrastructure is built; if in 10 years from now it does not exist, that will be not only a tragedy, but a gross injustice.
Haitian authorities cannot yet talk of moving forward and building back better if a national sewer system is not included as part of the great plan to reconstruct the nation.