14ymedio, Havana, 15 February 2016 — With the decline of port activity in Havana Bay, the environmental pollution that has characterized the coast of the Cuban capital for decades has diminished. However, much remains to be done to improve the waters which specialists say are among the dirtiest in the Caribbean region.
Added to the industrial waste dumped into the two square miles of the bay every day, is the residential waste coming from the city’s sewers and several rivers that flow into the sea. Some 124 industries classified as environmentally “aggressive” discharge their waste into the area and another 53 that are “highly polluting” complicate the situation.
In recent years, there has been a return of fish and marine birds to the Havana coastline, but the waters still maintains a strong odor of fuel and evidences a great deal of floating solid waste. The Nico oil refinery causes profound damage not only to Havana Bay, but also to the surrounding slums that receive its contaminated emissions.
A long-term project proposes to move the industry towards the Port of Mariel zone, about 30 miles west of the capital, according to the official press. The Port of Havana is then intended to accommodate the cruise ships and tourist yachts, along with associated food and recreational services.