Before beginning her route to collect garbage in La Cruz, Ana, who works on a garbage truck, prepares for her day on the job.
Today I dreamed I was drowning in trash.
Sometimes I wonder if any of the municipalities collects all the garbage in their cantons.
I’m certain the law (Law for Integral Waste Management) requires municipalities to provide collection services to the entire canton, but none of them actually do it. Most cover less than 64 percent of the population.
In La Cruz, the same thing happens…
The mayor, Junnier Salazar, said the amount of trash has increased by 30 percent due to the arrival of more than 3,000 migrants in the region.
La Cruz and Bagaces transport waste to informal dumps. The dumps are prone to the spreading of disease by mosquitoes and rats. The dumps also contaminate the soil and water and contribute to climate change.
Did you hear that, Sergio? If the informal dumps cause so many problems, why do we still have two?
I don’t know, Ana. I don’t understand, there’s a lot of new technology today, and there are many options to convert all of that garbage into energy.
If the technology exists, and even the financing, why isn’t there a solution for garbage collection?
According to Juan José Lao, an attorney and doctorate in environmental economy, the problem stems from a lack of political will and disobedience and impunity regarding the law.
At least last year they closed the dump here in Cañas, along with one in Tilarán in 2012.
Yes, at least it’s some progress. The same year the municipalities of Bagaces, Cañas and Tilarán signed a contract with a company called Bioenergía Tica to convert all of that garbage into fuel.
Yes, I remember that. In the newspaper they said SETENA told them to do another environmental impact study because the first one wasn’t acceptable. But they took two years to review it. So now they’re doing another one. But who knows…
Yeah, who knows? What I do know is that we’ve got a long way to go to take this trash to Miramar.
Cañas, Abangares and Liberia transport their garbage to a landfill in Miramar, Puntarenas. That entails a travel distance of between 50 and 120 kilometers.
Santa Cruz Landfill.
Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the smell. This is only part of what comes from Nicoya.
Here come the trucks from Carrillo, the canton that’s doing the best, because they collect 95 percent of their garbage.
That’s nothing compared to Nandayure, which only collects barely 19 percent.
And how many cantons send their trash here?
Here we receive garbage from Carrillo, Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Nandayure and Hojancha. About half of Guanacaste, in other words.
Cantonal percentage of garbage collection service coverage.
As a solution to municipal budget limitations, IFAM says it can finance the purchasing of equipment or the building of a transfer center or landfill, as well as technical assistance for infrastructure design or an updating of rates.