Haiti Eco-System Virtually Worst in the World

The country of Haiti is heir to many challenges besetting the island since it won its independence in 1804. Not only has she endured frequent upheavals in her governing body, wide-spread poverty, and illiteracy, the environment has been deteriorating since the 1980s. The non-government organization (NGO), Agency for International Development (AID), has released an update on the state of Haiti's environment, detailing the amount of damage its ecological infrastructure has sustained.


Once a place of untouched forestland blanketing all of the terrain, forests now account for only 4% of the entire land mass. UN investigators estimate forest reduction at a rate of 3% annually. With so much exposed topsoil and heavy seasonal rainfall, the ground cover is sloughed off, more than one-and-a-third tons for each square half-mile.

Although Haiti's government is a signatory to the Land Management International Convention, it uses the banned and lethal pesticide, DDT. Added to this are significant amounts of lead found in oil products. They form a toxic stew of waste pollutants that contaminate water sources. Only about half of Haiti's urban and countryside inhabitants have access to clean drinking water.

Wildlife populations are also disappearing, further ravaging the eco-system. At last count, 21 species of mammal, bird, and reptile were close to extinction. And there are more on which no figures have been obtained, among them raptors, sea turtles, and crocodiles.

The AID report contextualizes Haiti's environment as ". . . suffering from a degree of environmental degradation almost without equal in the entire world."

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