A strategy to reduce debris creation in developing countries
It has been estimated that there is between 8 to 10 million cubic meters of debris in Port-au-Prince. The rubble removal program will cost millions of dollars and processing the materials for worthwhile products is a challenge.
This past week Jessica Faieta, the U.N. Development Program’s senior country director for Haiti, gave the official update on rubble removal. The UN estimates that 40% of the debris has been removed by partner organizations and 10% by private individuals.
The UN is supporting the Haitian Government to finalize a national debris management strategy that will establish tracking tools and plans for rubble-removal and recycling standards. All of these efforts are to prepare governmental and non-governmental partners for future debris-generating natural disasters. Using the word FUTURE suggests that they are making plans for a repeat performance!
We like the idea that rubble is being removed and processed. We like the idea that plans are developing to prepare for any future earthquake events in Haiti. But we wonder how much would be saved if a greater percentage of the buildings didn’t crumble down in the first place?
Would the debris management strategy better serve Haiti if most of the replacement structures in Port-au-Prince were rebuilt using stronger concrete that is not susceptible to crumbling?
Adding more crusher and processing locations will make the millions of cubic meters disappear quicker, but why are we suggesting a repeat performance is inevitable? Wouldn’t it be better if we reduced the odds of creating the piles again during the next disaster to befall the island?
The UN Development Program (UNDP) is taking a leadership role in creating the strategy and their mandate suggests that they, “partner with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone”.
Withstanding a crisis requires adding plans to strengthen the concrete infrastructure of Haiti. When better concrete supplies and processes are adopted, then millions of dollars will be saved in the FUTURE.
We support a debris management strategy that includes a risk management component. Planing for the future requires reducing the risk of building failure to insure minimal need for rubble removal. Partnering with Haitian entrepreneurs to join the many levels of the concrete system will not only produce stronger concrete, but will also build a better economic future.
Creative ideas from developed nations will create good jobs and remove rubble quickly. But the real opportunities will come when we make a plan to improve all of the links within Haiti’s concrete construction supply system. Then we will have a partnership designed to withstand any future crisis.