Urban Planning and Transport in Suriname: Quo vadis, Suriname?

  • Paramaribo is a city of about 250.000 people. Despite its relative small number of citizens, the number of cars driving around is quite astonishing. It is absolutely no exception that families in Paramaribo have several cars. From 2005 to 2009 more than 54.000 new cars joined the roads of Paramaribo. The result is, of course, traffic jams especially during rush hours, as well as air pollution from exhaust fumes.
  • Although Suriname has a public transport system (with state-owned as well as privately run buses) that are quite affordable (the public buses are subsidized and are really cheap), an increased offer and quality of public transport systems could surely bring down the number of cars driving through Paramaribo each day.
One of the many public buses running through  Paramaribo and its outskirts

One of the many public buses running through Paramaribo and its outskirts

  • Cyclists and pedestriants are hardly seen in town (apart from some Dutch tourists and interns who do no give up their habits from back home) – no wonder, since cycle paths do not exist and cars drive dangerously close to both pedestrians and cyclists.
That's me on a bike in Paramaribo

That’s me on a bike in Paramaribo (on a typical Dutch bicycle, so don’t wonder why there’s no break!)

  • As mentioned before, flooding is a serious problem for many parts in Suriname. Since drainage systems are insufficient, any major rainfall will cause water levels on the streets to rise substantially.
Road completely flooded after a heavy rainfall in Paramaribo.

Road completely flooded after a heavy rainfall in Paramaribo.

 

A more serious urban planning and execution of recommendations will be needed if the country wants to ensure citizens‘ well-being and efficient transport systems!

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SURINAME’S MAJOR SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Here come the top three socio-environmental issues in Suriname (based on my personal observations, readings and interviews):

(I will get in more depth on each topic in the following posts)

(1) Gold mining (especially small-scale artisanal gold-mining)

(2) Energy

(3) Urban planning

  • land use changes and biodiversity loss (due to deforestation, hunting, …)
  • pollution of waterways due to mercury use and sedimentation
  • public health (mercury and cyanide intoxication)
  • prostitution, human trafficking, violence

Degraded area after small-scale mining operations (Source: WWF Guianas)

Degraded area after small-scale mining operations (Source: WWF Guianas)

  • renewable energies
  • energy efficiency
  • energy access for remote communities in the interior
  • need for real energy strategy, development plan, policies, fiscal incentives, need for more private sector involvement, etc.

One of the thermal power plants operated by EBS in cenral Paramaribo (very noisy, I can tell you!)

One of the thermal power plants operated by EBS in central Paramaribo (very noisy, I can tell you!)

  • public transport
  • flood prevention and sea level rise adaptation
  • sewage systems and waste water management
  • urban solid waste management
  • green space
Dumpsite I saw at Brownsberg Nature Park

Dumpsite I saw at Brownsberg Nature Park 😦