On August 26, the Ministry of Health issued an order to close Nosara’s open-air dump. The order was sent to Alvin Rosenbaum, president of the Nosara Civic Association (NCA), and gave 90 days to implement the closure.
To justify the order, Health cited poor waste management at the dump, creating health and environmental problems.
However, the NCA answered the closure order with two legal appeals. The first was an appeal directed to the Nicoya Health Department for a revocation of the order. The second was an appeal made to the Constitutional Court, also requesting that the order be annulled.
The legal basis for the appeals, according to the NCA, is that Health’s order is invalid because doing so does not line up with reality and does not take into account the Nosara residents’ waste management needs and problems.
The NCA argued that the possible closure of the dump would cause greater environmental and health problems for Nosarans.
That is how the situation was explained by to Alvaro Quesado, the lawyer hired by the NCA for the case.
“We recognize that currently the dump carries environmental risks, but it is a controlled risk. However, the dump’s closure would generate an uncontrolled environmental risk, as all of Nosara’s residents would leave their trash wherever,” said Quesada.
In addition, Quesada stated that in 2013, the NCA offered to donate the land where the dump is located to the Municipality of Nicoya so that the government could take charge of the site and make infrastructural improvements. NCA also proposed employing a truck typically used to transport materials for a hardware store to remove the community’s waste. The vehicle travels to Nosara daily and returns to Nicoya empty.
However, to date the municipality has not given a formal response to either of the proposals.
With those two documents presented in defense by NCA, the dump’s technical closure has been suspended until the Constitutional Court responds, giving Health its approval or annulling the closure order.
Nosara’s dump opened for operation in 1992 on property that originally belonged to Amigos de Nosara; in 1998 it was transferred to NCA. Since opening it has been administrated by Microempresa para el Saneamiento Ambiental (MICROSAN), and this is the second time NCA has received a closure notification from Health. The first was issued 2011 for the same reason. On that occasion, residents and business owners from the area donated money to improve the dump’s conditions.
Also, in October of 2013, the Environmental Court ordered the dump’s closure but the municipality appealed the issue.