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A GIS-based modeling of environmental health risks in populated areas of Port-au-prince, Haiti

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par Myrtho Joseph
University of Arizona - Master in Natural Resources Information System 1987

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4.4.5 Pollution water bodies

Though the study area is not crossed by any major stream, the topographic map exhibits multiple rivulets including some with uncertain physical destination. They might have been relayed by mechanical pathways built purposely in an urban drainage plan, or obstructed by unexpected obstacles that make it difficult to determine their conduit. Regardless of the situation at hand, it represents a serious source of pollution representing the receptacle of all kinds of municipal waste, and as such poses serious concerns for health.

As reflected in the model, the total extent of pollution from water was about 88% of which 56% was at high and very high risk, 18% moderate, and 26% at low risk (Figure 16). The modeling of these areas integrated slope to account for the accumulation factor across the path down to the sea and also the likelihood of water pooling at low slopes atop of high slope. As can be seen on the map less areas in high elevation were exposed to high risk. However, neighborhoods in low elevations and even not near channels experience high risks.

A large part of the downtown area was not part of this assessment as shown on the light blue section in the northwest. This was because ponds and water pooling in canals could not be precisely digitized. However this area is known for poor drainage and channels obstruction by waste, which allow very unclean water to flow on the streets.

Figure 16: Pollution from Water bodies

Once again, rivulets that flow near the border of the study area but that did not cross or intersected the area, were not included in the determination of this hazard, though they might have had a partial impact.

4.4.6 Pollution from the coast

Pollution incoming from the sea encompasses about 23% of the study area, among which more than half is at high and very high risk (Figure 17). This area is the densest in term of habitat and traffic, and hosts most of the slums, commercial activities, some formal and informal market places. In addition, it comprises the path of one branch of high voltage power line as well as a power distribution center, and the cemetery and some of the hospitals are also located close to this area. Consequently it is deemed as one of the most unsafe neighborhood to live. Nevertheless, as noticed above, this is the area with the densest population. Any sanitation, urban conversion program, dislocation and relocation program, health intervention, should initiate in this area located in the storm's eye in term of environmental health risks.

Figure 17: Pollution from the sea coast

4.4.7 Pollution from high voltage electric power

This hazard was mainly identified along transects in the south and the northwest section and extended over more than half of the study area. Neighborhoods under high and very high risks represented over 30% of the total area. However, though the high and very high risk of the south section of this hazard is very obvious on Figure 18, it did not appear on the result of EOW combination. The EOW combination weakens its impact by the fact that part of this area is isolated in high elevation and low housing density and poorly influenced the combination. This underlines the importance of approaching the analysis of the factors both globally and individually.

Figure 18: Pollution from high voltage power

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9Impact, le film from Onalukusu Luambo on Vimeo.

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