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Ministry of Health Order Closing the Dump Could Bring Local Groups Together
Finding Solutions, Immediate and Long-term, is the Community's Challenge

By pinar istek

Trash is not something pleasant to see, to smell or to talk about. Yet, it is certainly a reality of life. As human beings, the only creatures on earth to create inorganic trash, dealing with garbage is an inevitable reality for us. By May 10th, Nosara, a paradise to the visitors, will lose its only dump because of a decision taken by the Ministry of Health. According to the notification sent to the Nicoya municipality, the Nosara's dump "puts the public health at risk."  

Despite its problematic past, the dump managed to survive for 14 years. Currently, the Espinoza family runs the dump as a private business under the company name MICROSAN. But the family doesn't hold land title; they don't own the land on which our refuse is deposited. According to Alexander Espinoza, Amigos de Nosara, which was an association that dissolved in 2008, gave the land to the family in 1996.

Randall Cortez, the vice president of Nosara Chamber of Tourism said "The area where (the dump) is located doesn't belong to municipality and it doesn't belong to the Espinozas. It belongs to the Nosara Civic Association (NCA)." On the other hand, Marcel Schaerer, the President of the NCA and a consultant of the Amigos Liquidation Group said "Amigos de Nosara has 'possession' of the dump land and we are still waiting for the paperwork to be completed for the title. That is needed to accomplish our goal of donating the dump to the municipality." Schaerer also believes, "Legally, no one has the right to collect trash, except the municipalities."

But according to Marcos Avila, the syndic of Nosara, and the President of the Nosara Development Association, where the dump is located is a part of what is called the "green zones" of Nosara, and so nobody officially holds the title. Green zones and parks belong only to the state.

What the Law Says
The Ministry of Health's statement ordering the dump be closed said "There is no collection of solid waste (by the Nicoya Municipality)," and "This breaks the existing law," which calls for the municipality's attention to the issue. Article 8 of Law 8839, the Law for Waste Management confirms, "The municipalities will be responsible for the complete waste management generated in their district." This is also stated in Article 7 of the Regulation of the Waste Management.

Nicoya Mayor, Marcos Jimenez' solution for the dump problem is: "Obviously, we won't solve it this year. At this point, I don't know. Where is the money? It's been only one and a half months since I took office. In one and half months, I can't solve all the problems of the canton, which are left from the previous five and a half years. Next year we will try to solve this problem, but this year I entered the municipality with a budget that I didn't prepare, and it didn't include anything for the Nosara dump."

Syndic Avila said, "As Nosara Development Association, our interest is in saving the land where the dump is located now." Moreover, says Avila, "The Association and the Municipality are trying to install a recycling center for this dump problem on land near EBAIS (Health Clinic) in Nosara town." But they must wait for the approval of the land by the biologist of the municipality, Elizabeth Férnandez Ramírez, in order to open the center.

By April 25, 2011, the Nosara Development Association was still waiting for a visit from the municipality of Nicoya for the investigation of the proposed land to install the new recycling center. Avila explained that the reason why the association chose this land, which is located approximately 100 meters from EBAIS, was because it was the only property that was available to them.

Also, he added that as soon as they receive the permission from the municipality, it won't take more than one and half months to install the center. However, what will be installed is a recycling center and not a dump that could receive all kinds of trash. Avila said "The municipality still has to do something (about the dump problem). "

Possible Solutions for Nosara
An alternative that Avila offers is to make an agreement with the municipality of Santa Cruz County and use their dump facilities until Nosara finds its own solution. In the mean time, the Nosara Tourist Chamber, Nosara Civic Association and Nosara Recycling Association have joined forces to organize the community to recycle as much of their waste as possible. (see information in box).

What is your opinion about the Nosara Dump situation?

• Adriano Capitani, lives in Nosara
It (the dump) is one of the most important things. (But) it is not only the trash of Nosara. It is the world's trash. OK! If they close the dump, where does the Nosara trash go? If there is no solution now, they have to wait until there is a solution. If there is no solution, how can they close the dump that keeps the trash now?

  • Zulema Cabalceta Lopez lives in Nosara
They shouldn't close it, because here we need a dump to throw our trash. So it would be better if they arrange it well and talk to the municipality.

• Paul Mansocilli, lives in Villas Las Palmas
We absolutely need the facility, but I dont know where somebody can reestablish a new dump. A town like this can not function without a dump. They can do a fundraiser to raise money to buy a property for a new dump. They shouldn't be closing the dump before there is a solution to the problem.

  Meribeth Mendez, lives in South of Guiones Beach
It is very bad that they are closing it. Where will the trash go? Everybody will want to throw the trash in the streets or on the beach. Because nobody wants it at home. If they had given us a new place where we can throw our trash… A solution for the problem…

  • Lena Astrom and Mike Murphy, live in Pelada Beach
What could people do with the trash? What is the alternative? I don't know how they treat it, what they do with it. People are gonna throw it anywhere. It is gonna be very bad. That is really very serious. What are gonna do? We can't burn it. We can't keep it.

  • Jacqueline Alvarado Chavarria, lives in San Pedro
If they are thinking about closing the dump, they have to give another option, a new place where we can put the recyclable waste. The municipality never comes to see what the town exactly needs. Now the most necessary thing is the dump. The municipality is like an institution that is just there to be there, and now when we need them most, they have to be present. How are they gonna open a recycling center where there is a health center (EBAIS) or close to a health center? We already know that even if you recycle, trash brings mosquitos and insects can affect human health.


Scenery in Samara
Trash seems to be a burden in different parts of Nicoya county. Samara Recycling Center shut down on April 13, 2011, due to some health problems that the manager has been going through, which caused poor management of the recycling site. Giancarlo Capone, vice president of Samara CASATUR took the decision of closure. He said "the conditions weren't sufficient to maintain With." Berit Funke, who is a private business owner in Samara and involved with environmental issues of the region, along with Capone, are the founders of the recycling center of Samara. The former center had been serving the town since 2008.

Since the recent closure of the center in Samara, Neibel Alberto Chavarilla Aceves, who is the manger of a recycling center in Caimital, has been offering door-to-door recyclable trash collection service for free to Samarans. However, the residents of the town have to contact with Neibel at 2685 1615 or 8345 9694 and request for the service. Neibel also said that he can offer the same service for Nosara once a week on Thursday, if the town makes a request.


Reduce, reuse, recycle
– Use your organic trash as compost. 54% of the trash that is received by the dump is organic and there is no need for it to be there.
– Rethink about packing while making purchases at the markets. Reusability and recycling
– Purchase beer and soda in recyclable bottles.
– Separate clean plastics #1 and #2, glass containers, tetra pack containers (milk, juice, etc.), aluminum cans ( no tin cans), cardboard and paper, and metal. Take them to the recycling centers: Old gas station site, Next to the ASADA Playas de Nosara office.


More Regional News

Tsunami Alarm Tested!

On Thursday, on May 26th, 2011 at noon, the Tsunami Alarm, located in Lot 111 of Section A, below Villa Mango, was tested with the purpose of finding out the aerial coverage of the alarm system. It was only heard at Pelada Beach.

Tourist Found Dead at Pelada Beach

On Sunday, May 22nd, 2011, Donald Bruce Altieri, 54, was found dead on his bed at Condominios Las Palmas of Pelada Beach. Altieri, from the United States was on vacation with his son, Daniel Bruce Altieri.

Closure of the Nosara Dump
Ministry of Heath Agrees on Two More Months for the Operation of Nosara Dump
Municipality and the Community Leaders of Nosara united to accomplish orders of the Ministry of Health

“I promise not to close the dump as long as there are efforts to improve it,” said Gabriel Sotelo González, inspector from the Nicoya Ministry of Health during a meeting on May 18th at Hotel L’acqua Viva.

Search Ends, Lost Surfer Not Found

“You don´t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have,” said Margarita Durán, Alvaro Durán’s sister, on a Facebook status post on May 3, 2011.

Closure of Nosara Dump
Community Leaders Call for Municipal Equipment to Avoid Closure

Nosara's community leaders joined together to present a letter to the City of Nicoya asking that the municipality "bring in the equipment to make new trenches" in the dump in Nosara, which is subject to a March 22 closure order issued by the Ministry of Health.

San Vicente Ceramics Without Clay
Chorotegas' Millenniums-old Tradition Could Disappear

A few days from the start of winter, the hands of the artisans of San Vicente of Nicoya are idle due to the lack of clay and their families are distressed from not having resources.

Mel Gibson's Property Still Facing Trouble with Nicoya's Town Council
Rumors in the area indicate the estate would be bought by Lady Gaga

Problems continue to plague Mel Gibson's property on Playa Barrigona, in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste. In a report issued March 29th, Nicoya's Municipalidad (town council), where the property is located, has stated that the five buildings constructed over 10 years ago never acquired the proper municipal permits.

Attention Guiones and Pelada: Tsunami Alarm Will Be Tested in May

The Tsunami Alarm located in Lot 111 of Section A below Villa Mango, will be tested on May 26th, 2011 at noon. There are five sirens for different purposes: general, radioactivity, chemical, water and fire alarms. They will be tested in the same order they are listed.

Conflict Over Municipal Council Members' Stipends

The Stipend is a compensation that is the right of a functionary, in this case of Municipal Council members. According to the Municipal Code a Council member is entitled to a stipend for attending a paid session of the Council of which he or she is a member.

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