Port-Au-Prince, One of the Largest Cities in the World without a Sewage System

Port-au-Prince is about the size of Chicago. There are 987,000 people living in Port-Au-Prince and 2.6 million living in the 'metropolitan' area. But the city doesn't have a central sewage system. Furthermore, an estimated one in five Haitians doesn't have access to any kind of toilet.

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In the fall of 2010, months after the devastating earthquake, when cholera first entered Haiti (first time over a century), most likely by the United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal, the disease became endemic-- more than a half-million people got sick and at least 7,050 died. The only way to prevent the cholera endemic is to build a network of pipes and waste treatment plants to prevent the infection of food and water supplies.

Sadly, most of the 3 million people living in the metropolitan area use outhouses that dump waste into canals and ditches or other dumping grounds with risk of contaminating drinking water and spreading disease. After the earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Matthew, the three waste treatment sites that now exist, only 1% of human waste is effectively treated. The cumulative sewage of 3 million people flows through open ditches. Haiti has the highest incidence rate of childhood mortality due to diarrheal disease in the world.

For most Haitians 'toilet' is synonymous to an open field or wading into a public canal at dawn. Those who can afford, dig cesspools under outhouses. When the cesspools get full, it's time to call a 'bayakou', a manual laborer who empties the cesspools that collect deep bogs of human waste under Haiti's backyard latrines. Thus, human excrement is largely removed by hand by workers (bayakou) who toil at night under cover of darkness.

Domestic funding is never enough in Haiti to cover the costs associated with an effective sewage system. International organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are making efforts to help Haiti. An international effort named 'Morne a Cabrit' intended to develop sewage treatment plants all over the country; they opened their first facility about an hour away from Port-Au-Prince in 2012. However, the successive plans to build other plants never passed their initial stages. Without outside help, the country has little chance of remedying the current sanitation situation. The present administration needs to be significantly more focus on raising money and awareness for the Haiti sewage system.

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All Comments (1)

Dannyx says...

This is what some of the petrocaribe dollars could of been used for. But on a more serious note s sewage system should also accompany a water plant and the Government could finance both by charging property owners for both service's. Start by sending a delegation next door to see how it is done there and other islands such as the Bahamas Turks and Caicos Cuba compare and strategize it's not rocket science si nou ka lévé moun mouri this should be nothing to do

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