PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – President Michel Martelly has announced that 2013 will be Haiti’s Year of Environment, requesting residents assist the government’s efforts to preserve the impoverished nation’s ecosystem.
Martelly has asked that every Haitian plant a tree this year, the nation’s 209th anniversary of independence.
Haiti is currently in an “ecological catastrophe,” according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), claiming that from 25 to 30 drainage basins nationwide are “severely degraded.”
The UNDP has said that Haiti loses 37 million tons of arable land annually due to deforestation, which saw forestland reduced from 20% to 4% between 1970 and 1990.
Martelly also said his administration has placed improving the country’s economic production among his top priorities. He also will focus on improving Haitians’ overall quality of life, as he wants 70% of the population to be self-sufficient by the end of his term in three years.
[Xinhua (Haiti), 02/01/2013; Haiti Press Network (Haiti), 01/01/2012; Ayiti News (Haiti), 01/01/2012]