A River of Trash

These are canals in the Port-au-Prince area. I know in much of Haiti the canals serve the dual purpose of supplying water for bathing/washing clothes and to allow water and wastewater (ew) to flow to lower ground; I’m not sure anybody uses these canals for bathing/washing though. Only the richest parts of Haiti can afford door to door trash removal services like we have most places in the USA.

Haiti serves as a great example of the problems with single use drinking containers and other disposable plastic items – once you’ve got ’em, they just accumulate. As some folks say about the concept of throwing things “away” – “there’s no such place as away”. However, Haitians do know how to get plastic junk out of their immediate surroundings – by burning it. Sorry, don’t have any pictures of that. But it’s pretty common to see a pile of trash burning, possibly giving off dioxins.

Countries like Haiti, where money is scarce and almost everything is inexpensive, I think there’s a huge potential to change the way we deal with environmental issues in a way that’s really positive… without needing to spend a lot of money. What do we do with situations like these?