Managing Haiti's Post-Earthquake Waste

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Collym
Words 2637
Pages 11
Managing Haiti’s post-earthquake waste: paving the way to address public health issues for natural disasters

Abstract

Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake left in its wake large piles of debris and waste materials. These wastes posed a risk to public health and obstructed reconstruction efforts. Determining the best way to manage disaster waste is high priority in natural disasters, yet it has often been managed in an ad-hoc manner during the early recovery phase. Large-scale disasters such as Haiti’s earthquake provide valuable lessons for addressing public health issues faced in the wake of earthquakes.

This paper will discuss the Haiti situation, the challenges encountered for public health and the possible strategies that can be used for effective waste management. Waste Management Strategies that could pave the way for safe and effective waste management for future natural disasters - earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods.

Introduction
“Disasters and conflicts can generate large quantities of solid and liquid waste that threaten public health, hinder reconstruction and impact the environment”. [1]
This waste generated by the disaster poses a serious public health risk for the population and for emergency response teams. In the wake of earthquakes, these risks come from a number of areas; direct contact with disposed accumulated waste in the streets, medical waste, hazardous wastes from chemicals, pesticides, oils and solvents and indirect risks from contact with flies, rodents and the collapse of unstable structures. In addition there are a number of environmental risks that have an impact on human health, that include contaminated water, chemical spills and the decaying bodies of dead animals. This is the case of nearly all major natural disasters, but, the handling of waste is at best improvised and…...

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