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Scoping visit in February 2011

Goal visit

WASTE’s involvement to the mission had a specific focus on assessing the waste management situation in four secondary cities, Gressier, Léogâne, Grand Goâve and Petit Goâve, which are part of the VNGI project and preparing a plan of action for improving solid waste and sanitation practices. The last item has also been taken up by the group working on water (drinking, river and sanitation).

 

A quick scan

The municipalities are quite big and are divided in sectors of which some are urban, along the coast, while the rural ones are mainly found in the mountainous area.

Gressier

Gressier is a small town, which has grown very quickly after the earthquake, as many homeless people came the refugee camps set up in the muncipality. The market seems relatively clean, which can be explained by th fact that it is located near a river in which most of the waste is dumped. The riverbank is littered and once in a while the waste is burned. But the waste is largely out of the view of the customers.

The street situation is the same as in the other cities, heaps of waste in places least hindering the citizens and canals clogged by waste. Emptying of the canals was in process as the rainy season was approaching rapidly. 

 

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Léogâne

Léogâne is the biggest city of the 4 and has been quite severely affected by the earthquake, severala big buildings have been destroyed and one of tteh refugee camps is set up in the middle of the city, housing more than a hundred families. The waste situation in Léogâne is worrysome, especially as the river overflows in the rainy season, turning the main street is a river itself. With the clogged canals this situation becomes even more severe, as the waste is dragged along.

The household dump their wastes in certain points thus at least keeping the waste concentrated. The dumped waste is collected on a haphazzard way, if there are funds or if a relief organisation can spare a truck. The municipal equipment is out of order since more than half a year.

The central market, which in Léogâne is very big, had waste piled up high and the marketeers stated that the waste was rarely to never collected and they themselves tried to keep their area clean. All in all the market area did not feel as a pleasant place, it was clear that in the rainy season the small alleys become slippery and thus even more difficult to keep clean. There were no sanitary facilities neither for the visitors or the marketeers themselves, which was seen as a problem by the marketeers, who would like to be able to use such facilities.

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Grand-Goâve

Grand-Goâve is a nice small town. As in the other cities, the town hall has been severely damaged and was housed at a temporary location, waitng for the emergency building to be realised. A relief organisation had placed waste bins along the main street. Unfortunately the bins were not emptied and thus overflowing, and in some places burning to at least minimize the amoutn. The market had next to the overall waste problem, a problem of water streaming through the market place, which came from an ill constructed water pump, located at the highest point at the end of the market.

 

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Petit-Goâve

Despite the name, Petit-Goâve is considerable bigger than Grand-Goâve. Streets are clean, however the waste is found piled up in several places. However, as in the other cities, the citizens tend to concentrate the waste disposal at certain points. Much waste can be found alongside the river, sometimes just tipped over the edge of the constructed dykes., thus out of sight. A visit to one of the poorer areas, made it clear that there is still much to be done on sanitation management. Public toilets are built, in some cases organised by neighbourhood committees, but there are not enough so open defeacation still happens.

The market along the National Road to borders a refugee camp and both dump their wastes on a pile next to the entrance of the market. Again the canals are filled with waste, making the paths between the stalls impossible to walk along when it had rained. The marketeers stated to clean the market themselves and that when the pile became dangerously high, the municipality came in to take a large part of it away.

 

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Outcome

The observations and discussions with the mayors, municipal workers and some citizens made it clear that everyone is aware of the problem of the waste and sanitation situation, especially in the light of the cholara epedimic.

The reason for the collapsed municipal waste management system can be sought in the lack of equipment and capable collectors. In addition, the municipal taxes have stopped after the earthquake, diminishing the funds for the municipality to take actions. Lastly, the national government has difficulties in paying the budgets to the municipalities.

Looking at the situation WASTE came with an advice to slowly start up waste collection. The first thing to do would be to decide upon a temporary discharge where the collected waste can be dumped. Then to start by collecting the waste and cleaning the public ares on a regular basis. In addition more attention could be given to recycling possibilities, as there is much plastics to be found in the waste, it might be an option set up separation opportunities.

These ideas were presented to the mayors and the project consortium and it is decided to work them out more in detail in the coming period.