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Water Pollution in Haiti
Transcript of Water Pollution in Haiti
In 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti and subsequently damaged not only their waste water infrastructure, but drinking water. The earthquake had killed hundreds of thousands of people and damaged what scarce water sources they had (wells). Not only did people suffer from the earthquake, but from the polluted water. Along came an outbreak in cholera due to polluted water. The disease sickened around 530,000 people and killed more than 7,000 in 2010.
Haiti in 2010
-Water contamination is the leading factor to childhood illness and Haiti's high infant death rate (52 children per 1,000 births). More than half of the nations deaths are due to contaminated water and disease it may carry. Some of the ones commonly found are typhoid fever and cholera. Cholera is one of the prime disease that the people of Haiti encounter when drinking from their scarce water resources. However, even before the earthquake had struck, sanitation rates decreased within the nation from an already low 26% to 17%.
Cholera is a life threatening diarrheal disease caused by pathogenic strains of vibrio cholerae. It is most commonly found in developing countries which lack access to potable water, which leaves Haiti as a strong contender. Most people who are exposed to it, never know it but can still contaminate others. Only 1 in 10 people will display signs and symptoms. Some symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. Because there are scarce sources of water in most areas, the people continue to drink and use whatever water is available which leaves them more prone to attaining the disease.
Many governments and non-governmental organizations have taken the step to provide financial aid in improving Haiti's water dilemma. Countries like the US, Canada, Spain, China and India have sent money along as doctors to help in the cholera outbreak. Haiti relies on other countries to provide them with safe drinking water. These countries are providing multiple tests on Haiti's water sources as well as building pipes to generate clean water. These are only providing short term water access, not the long term amount that the country is so desperately in need of.
-Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the world.
-10% of the population has electrical service and only 5% of the roads in the country are in good condition.
-Haiti has 10.32 million people who inhabit its land, and of those, only 55.2% have access to water.
-70% of the population does not have direct access to potable (drinking) water.
-Around 50% live off of one dollar a day and 78% live off less than two dollars a day. These people have to end up having to retrieve polluted water from rivers to supply for their families and households, especially when water becomes too expensive or their is no water source at all. Even if they had access to water, they might not be able to afford it. And even if they could afford it, there might be any available sources of water nearby.
Other countries can establish a new trend, like TOMS, and benefit both their company and another, as well. TOMS donates a pair of shoes for every shoe that is sold. If a brand of water came out in the US for example, then for every bottle or gallon that is bought, another could be donated to Haiti.
Problems with Groundwater
Pumps and wells would help the problem, but they are expensive. Funding would be crucial in order to do so. Funding is always an option, but not guaranteed. Also, because it would be groundwater, it would not be substantial because it does not replenish as fast enough as the people need it to.
Education is key. With the proper education, the nation will become informed of the dangerous position they are in. It will allow them the means to come up with solutions while also becoming informed on how to bring the country up. It will also prepare the future generations for what is to come and how they can improve their situation. More than 200,000 children remain out of school. Most of the schools in Haiti are privately owned, whether it be from non-governmental organizations, charities, or religious organizations. These require tuition to attend which eliminates many children's opportunity to attend. Many children end up in grades in which they are too old for. They only attend school when the means of money allow them to and must withdraw once they cannot afford it anymore.
With a sand filtration system, the people of Haiti could decontaminate their water. With this system, water can maneuver through a bed of porous sand. It then drains into gravel and eventually into a pipe of clean water. It removes inorganic and organic matter as well as pathogenic organisms. This requires very minimal power and operation, however, it requires a large land area for faster filtration. The bigger then project, the more water can be filtered at once. It averages between 0.015 and 0.15 gallon per minute per sq. foot of bed area. But with a large land area for a large bed, filtration of water can be happening with little operation and they can take care of other things as the water filters out in to the pipe.
PET bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) are transparent plastic bottles. Not all bottles are this type, but most are. These could be helpful with the aid of foreign nations. If other countries could recycle their empty water bottles and send them off to Haiti a PET bottle system would help them attain drinkable water.
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