As part of the International Earth Day, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Haiti have partnered to organize an event in Quiskeya National Park where both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding underlines the crucial need to preserve Haiti’s forests, resources and soils and defines mutual commitments for the improvement of the environment and for the conservation of the country’s natural resources.
In support of the Ministry’s initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags, USAID distributed 500 reusable bags to students and all those who participated in the event. An additional 4,500 bags will be distributed at local schools and grocery stores in Port-au-Prince during the week. These bags are produced by a local Haitian company and are made of poplin, a weaving of wool, cotton, silk, rayon, polyester or a mixture of these fibers.
“Things like polystyrene boxes and plastic bags are not biodegradable. They clog the canals and create a source of visual pollution, taking generations to decompose,” said USAID Acting Ad Director Gary Just. “I am convinced that these conservation measures will improve the environmental landscape in Haiti.”
The Minister of the Environment, the USAID Director, the Mayor of Ganthier and representatives of the private sector working in the recycling and garbage collection sectors at the municipal level took turns speaking at this activities. After visiting the park, participating students planted aloe and agave plants in the park’s arboretum.
USAID has a long partnership with the Ministry of the Environment in various reforestation and conservation initiatives aimed at preserving natural resources for economic growth and resilience. Protecting trees in Haiti also means protecting the hills against landslides, and the lowlands against flooding and sedimentation. Fish not only contributes to the income of Haitian fishermen, but also has an impact on the health of Haiti’s coral reef ecosystems.
In 2017, USAID launched a five-year initiative focused on the North and North-West departments of Haiti to plant 5 million trees and preserve 15,000 hectares of forest. Since 2013, the US government has planted over 6 million fruit and forest plants in the North, Northeast and West departments.
In the protected area of the Three Bays near Cap-Haïtien, USAID’s Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Program has planted 60,000 mangrove plants and signed environmental agreements with fishermen’s associations in the area to ensure that communities have access to other means to earn a living to limit overfishing in the region.