Environmental Problems in El Salvador

1804 Words Nov 27th, 2010 8 Pages
With a total land mass of just 8,124 square miles, El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. Like many of its’ neighboring countries, it possesses very few natural resources. Since the nation’s economy is based predominantly on agriculture, it’s no surprise that its’ citizens often experience “resource roller coasters”. In addition, its’ long history of inappropriate land tenure and ownership practices date all the way back to colonialism. Even more strikingly, “sixty percent of El Salvador’s population is expected to live in the capital by 2010.” As a result, El Salvador has to deal with continuing environmental problems. The fact that the nation lies along the Pacific Ring of fire doesn’t help either, which subjects …show more content…
Despite receiving six feet of rainfall each year, most of the nation’s water is highly contaminated. In fact, thousands are killed each year due to water contamination, many of whom are children. At the same time, most of the citizens of the nation cannot afford bottled water. After the twelve year civil war destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, poor areas became even poorer. Homes and water sources had been destroyed by militia during the war. After returning home, some citizens chose to hand dig wells in order to obtain drinking water. However, many others went to their nearest stream, river or pond to collect water. These unsafe and contaminated water sources caused many people to become ill with intestinal diseases. According to Ricardo Navarro, El Salvador’s government has failed to protect its’ most precious resource: “Farmers have cut down forests that used to store rain water. Ranchers have allowed their livestock to pollute rivers. Communities have put latrines too close to shallow wells.” Others, such as Marisol Prima Ponza, who runs a government dispensary that tracks the health of 375 children in several communities, believe that things are improving. "There have been fewer cases of diarrhea," she says. "For example, from January to August of this year I have only recorded 17 cases." Ponza also added that these improvements are due to several projects that
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