Sustainability and protection of natural heritage

Isle of  Youth (Granma International) –  Experts on the Isle of Youth contributed to efforts throughout the past year to strengthen protection of the environment, and with it the natural heritage of the island, work which positively impacted on fragile ecosystems and also influenced management plans in six protected areas, in which over 30 projects are underway.

The special municipality has advanced in identifying and tackling major stationary sources of pollution. The main improvement in this area has been a reduction of the contaminants previously dumped into the Las Casas River, with the removal of two pigsties, a reduction in the amount of animals in the remaining sties and cleaner production methods in the dairy, fishing and electrical industries, resulting in a 3.6% reduction in pollution.

Educational efforts also increased with a range of programs, community and local development projects, which have helped create greater environmental awareness and mitigate problems through exchanges with locals in beach areas, livestock facilities and schools. 345 agricultural producers received soil conservation training, while 400 tons of humus were distributed across the land, with greater control over the quantity and quality of water used for irrigation.

Although measures were implemented across all costal areas, including the Bibijagua and Paraíso beaches, some zones continue to be used for keeping animals, especially horses, and measures to protect sand dunes are limited in certain localities, while gulfweed continues to accumulate.

On the Isle of Youth, as throughout the rest of Cuba, efforts are focused on programs such as the eradication of sources of pollution, tackling climate change, the decontamination of bays, rehabilitation of beaches and coastal zone management. Environmental experts are assisting the government in implementing a comprehensive sustainable development program and advising enterprises on the development and management of processes to protect the island’s natural surroundings, while recognizing that responsibility for the care of the environment, and the preservation of natural heritage, also falls to the local population.