Reducing Waste, One Boat at a Time

It turns out that there has been a big problem with waste management and the Tortuguero people are still figuring out ways to address the issue.

Why does the community have this need?:

Each year, Tortuguero receives thousands of visitors. People from all around the world go there to see the large turtles that nest on the beach and to experience the natural beauty. Unfortunately, more tourists means more trash. Eventually, it begins to pile up and spill into the environment. There is also trash that blows over from nearby banana plantations. Farmers utilize plastic bags to cover the bananas while they are growing, but sometimes these bags end up in trees or in the river. In past years, the accumulation (gradual gathering) of trash has reached alarming levels. It began to negatively impact the community and environment.

Is this need being met? How?:

There are recycling and waste management centers in the main town. According to the information our guide gave to us during the short tour, there are people who collect trash twice a week. Usually, when I think about the trash pickup routine back home, I think about the big loud garbage truck that stops at each house in the neighborhood. In Tortuguero, it is a little different. The people there use boats to get from place to place. The area is set up where there are a bunch of scattered docks along the river, so the best way to get around is by boat. The workers throw all of the bags of trash that they collect from each place into the boat and sail to the main town where it is disposed.