Bajos de Haina

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Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina is located in the Dominican Republic
Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina
Bajos de Haina in the Dominican Republic
Coordinates: 18°25′12″N 70°01′48″W / 18.42000°N 70.03000°W / 18.42000; -70.03000
Country  Dominican Republic
Province San Cristóbal
Area[1]
 • Total 38.49 km2 (14.86 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Total 158,985
 • Density 4,100/km2 (11,000/sq mi)
 • Urban 79,856
Municipal Districts
1

Bajos de Haina (Standard Spanish pronunciation: ['ba.xos de 'ai.na]; locally: ['ba.ho de 'hai.na]), mostly known simply as Haina (Standard Spanish pronunciation: ['ai.na]; locally: ['hai.ŋa]), is a town and municipality in the San Cristóbal Province, of the Dominican Republic.

History[edit]

According to some versions, Miguel Díaz, who had migrated from La Isabela, arrived in Haina after having injured a man who was intimately related to the Spanish authorities. Once he settled there, he married a native woman named Catalina who told him of a gold deposit in the western bank of the Haina River. After confirming the existence of the precious metal, he returned to La Isabela where he told Christopher Columbus and his brother Bartholomew of his discovery. The Admiral sent his brother to confirm the existence of the deposit, since he had to leave for Europe.

Bartholomew realized that there indeed was gold and decided to build a fort that he named San Cristóbal, which served as lodging for the soldiers that participated in this activity.

A very large gold nugget was found in 1502, at the western bank of the Haina River, eight kilometers from Villa Altagracia, in a place known as Madrigal. The nugget was sent to Spain, but the ship that carried it sank along with Governor Francisco de Bobadilla, cacique Guarionex and dozens of Spaniards.[3]

Pollution[edit]

Bajos de Haina has been referred to as the 'Dominican Chernobyl'.[4] According to the United Nations, the population of Haina is considered to have the highest level of lead contamination in the world, and its entire population carries indications of lead poisoning. The contamination is believed to have been caused by the past industrial operations of the nearby Baterías Meteoro, an automobile battery recycling smelter. Although the company has moved to a new site, the contamination still remains.

Bajos de Haina was named as one of the ten most polluted places on earth by the US based environmental group the Blacksmith Institute in 2006.[5]

Between December 2008 and March 2009, Blacksmith conducted cleanup, coordinating the removal of over 6,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil from the site, which has been turned into a local park. Following the remediation and a number of community education campaigns, blood lead levels have significantly dropped and are now at acceptable levels.[6] Haina is no longer on Blacksmith's list of world's worst polluted places.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Superficies a nivel de municipios, Oficina Nacional de Estadistica
  2. ^ Censo 2012 de Población y Vivienda, Oficina Nacional de Estadistica
  3. ^ Síntesis de Ciudades, Pueblos es Islas del País M. M. Pouerié Cordero, Impresora Mary. Sto. Dgo., 1997
  4. ^ New York councilman to visit "Dominican Chernobyl". Dominican Today. 21 July 2007.
  5. ^ World's Worst Polluted Places — by the Blacksmith Institute (accessed 2007-12-3)
  6. ^ "Lead Contamination, Haina (Success Story)". 
  7. ^ "Blacksmith Institute certifica HAINA ya no es de las más contaminadas". Acento.com. Dec 17, 2013. 

Coordinates: 18°25′N 70°02′W / 18.417°N 70.033°W / 18.417; -70.033

External links[edit]