BAY OF HAVANA

HAVANA, Dec. 29 (DDC) The population is the largest source of solid waste generation that reaches the Bay of Havana, according to the official Granma newspaper, Mercedes Gzegozewski González, director of Environmental Management of the State Work Group-Bahia de La Habana (GTE) -BH).

The Government blames the contamination in the Havana bay to people who dump garbage into rivers. The population ends up throwing in the nearby tributaries the waste that the state services are unable to manage.

This is what happens, for example, in the Luyanó River that separates Lawton, on October 10, from San Miguel del Padrón, or Martín Pérez, also in the latter municipality.

Their neighbors complain about the lack of containers to deposit the garbage and the long time that passes for the collection of the waste.

The bridges over these tributaries are a place of pestilence and waste piled up in heaps on land and water.

Gzegozewski points out that domestic waste is connected to the rivers and the sewerage of the capital and, in addition, there is a fairly high level of population that has been connected illegally to storm drains.

All this influences the fact that the Luyanó River contributes 20% of the contamination of organic matter and nutrient to the bay.

According to the specialist, different entities in the capital, with foreign aid, are initiating studies to build four wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) that would serve as a  barrier.

With the completion of this project, the municipal wastewater that arrives through the Agua Dulce pluvial drainage, the waste from six industries and the surface layer of the Luyanó river is intended to receive treatment.

So far, only the WWTP Luyanó IV and Mantilla are at the beginning of their operation and still waiting to be completed are the works of Monterrey (for early 2019), La Prosperidad and San Matías, the latter in San Miguel del Padrón .

When it is running at full capacity, the Luyanó IV will be able to process 200 liters per second of wastewater in the first stage and, after the second stage, it will reach up to 400 liters per second.

It will promote the reduction of pollution in the waters of the Bay of Havana, favoring the progressive recovery of this ecosystem.

Industrial processes and environmental sanitation

Since 2014, the Bay of Havana and its buffer areas have been considered a Protection Zone, which is covered by Resolution 13 of the National Monuments Commission, attached to the Ministry of Culture.

This area has been characterized for many years by its maritime-port-only function, which affects the high degree of existing pollution. Now the Government intends to give it more tourist and recreational purposes.

According to the GTE-BH, in the 20 years since it was created, the pollutant load of the entities around the Bay of Havana has been reduced by 78%.

For this, some companies have been deactivated, among them Antonio Maceo and Frank País power plants; the slaughterhouses Ciro Redondo, Jesús Menéndez and Antonio Maceo, which used to discharge high levels of contamination, the El Miño packing house, a yeast factory, and the edible oil refining plant Alberto Álvarez, were completely removed from the bay basin. facilities.

According to the book of the Master Plan on the Bay of Havana, “the Ñico López refinery is considered among the three foci with the greatest contribution of pollution due to the discharge of liquid waste, the emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere and soil, which can cause contamination caused by organic chemical compounds harmful to human health and the environment. “

This refinery, adds the document, contributes 90% of the total polluting load that the Bay of Havana receives from the industries that discharge their waste there.

However, the director of environmental management of the GTE-BH considered that, although it is true that these figures are a reality, Ñico López considers in its investment process to improve the environmental impacts that it generates.

He said that the fixed barrier of the refinery was affected by the occurrence of meteorological phenomena and at the moment work is being done to solve the problems, although Granma could not verify it in situ.

Other entities that contribute are those belonging to the Food Industry, with 1.6% of the polluting load that reaches waters of the Bay of Havana.

The Havana rada has a perimeter of 18.9km, a total depth of 9m and a volume of water of 47 million cubic meters for a total area of ​​520 hectares.

Around the tributary basin with a coastal perimeter of 6km there are 906,000 inhabitants.

In Cuba, the main source of pollution comes from the dumping of untreated and inadequately treated waste or emissions into water bodies. Also of the deficient handling of dangerous wastes and toxic chemical products.

According to authorities, technological obsolescence, the lack of systems for the treatment of emissions and monitoring capabilities, the lack of sewerage, the lack of knowledge of what is established by regulations and technical standards, the lack of responsibility and the lack of maintenance of systems contribute to environmental deterioration.