Though the priority for most organiations is still to ensure the safety of the people of Haiti, plans have already begun for clean-up of the many structures that have been destroyed. Fortunately, there have been no large chemical or oil spills resulting from the earthquake. One of the priorities is finding the many pieces of bricks and timber in the rubble that can still be used, and quickly sorting them out from things that need more processing and hazardous materials. In other words, the waste is not just going to be bulldozed into a landfill: it must be sorted where it stands if any recycling is to take place. Workers cleaning up the debris (many of whom will be locals who need jobs) must watch out for the asbestos which was undoubtedly in some of the buildings, small chemical spills, and soiled medical supplies. Some of these hazards will have to be incinerated.
The US State Department has announced that Americans will travel to Haiti to participate in cleanup efforts and that the US Office of Transition Initiatives has begun a program to employ Haitians in the removal of rubble. The State Deprtament website has further information on participants and programs. Other nations and organizations are contributing, but “dump sites” seem to be a reality of the outskirts of the most heavily damaged areas.
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