Restoring Haiti’s Ecosystem

Words by Kady Ressaissi

Environmental protection agencies have long had eyes and hands in aid toward Haiti’s damaged ecosystem since the horrific and devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake of 2010.

The island has struggled for years against issues of deforestation and depleting fish ecology, even before the earthquake hit, mainly due in part to over use and the slow disappearance of the coral reefs in the area.

Environmental preservationist group Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit group of scientists armed with international funding, have renewed their efforts in the preservation of Haiti’s coral reefs through re-educating the island’s populace and by declaring the area off limits to fishing. The Nature Conservancy has been effective in creating Haiti’s first marine protected area around the southern tip of the island, where no fishing or deep sea diving is allowed.

According to the conservation group, the goal of declaring the area marine protected would help make Haiti more sustainable by providing food for countless communities. Haiti also has plans of environmental protection in the works with its neighbors.

Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic belong to what is known as the Caribbean Biological Corridor (CBC), an initiative proposed to control and diminish the damage and loss of biodiversity in the Caribbean. Haiti’s Minister for the Environment, Jean Francois Tomas in a recent meeting in Santiago Cuba, expressed his wish to continue the collaboration and implementation of a joint environmental protection program with Cuba. Jean Francois Tomas was reassured by Cuba of their willingness to continue support and participation in the environmental efforts.

Haiti has come a long way after an earthquake that left it broken and barely functioning. But with the help of its neighbors and the re-education of its people there will be a new beginning for the island and its environment.