Protests staged in the road at the entrance to the garbage dump in Santa Cruz, which lasted more than 20 days and were led by residents of El Cacao and Bernabela, had the municipalities of Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Hojancha and Carrillo in dire straits, as those cantons use the Santa Cruz dump to deposit their waste.
Residents, who started the protest on January 12, were pleading for repairs to their roads and the application of molasses to combat dust. However, it was not until Monday, February 2 that the block was removed after repairs began.
Marjorie Espinoza, president of the El Cacao Development Association, explained that the dust situation has been unsustainable for many years, and for that reason they aimed to not end the protest until seeing concrete progress.
“Now, thankfully machinery arrived on Monday, it is already working, but it was difficult. We were there for many days, but we are very satisfied, as they have never listened to us,” commented Espinoza.
“We have been dealing with this situation for years and years. We can understand that things don’t happen overnight, but now we have run out of patience,” she added.
For Maria Eugenia Dinarte, resident of El Cacao, the main reason for having blocked the entrance was that her home is filled with dust daily by passing vehicles and that it has affected her health.
“I’ve been affected by rhinitis. I have too many attacks and I go to the clinic but they tell me that my case [needs to be treated] in the hospital. I have these attacks more often because of so much dust and they give me a lot of pain and dizziness,” Dinarte said.
Trash piled Up for Days
Although the protesters did not completely block the entrance, they kept the trucks waiting for several hours. According to Jorge Ezequiel, of the department of environmental management for the Municipality of Nicoya, the slowdowns affected collection routes.
“There are days when the truck stays there four to five hours, so this has delayed us with the collection routes in Samara and Curime. We always do them, but maybe a day later,” Ezekiel explained.
The mayor of Hojancha, Eduardo Pineda, said they did not have problems with their collection routes but commented that the trucks were delayed in Santa Cruz.
The roadblocks were stricter with garbage trucks from Santa Cruz since sometimes they were not allowed to enter, so trash had to be transferred to the canton’s fairgrounds to wait until they could pass through.
For his part, the mayor of Santa Cruz, Jorge Chavarria, explained that the Municipality of Carrillo offered to help with road maintenance.
“They offered to help us as a good fellow municipality, since they have good machinery right now and ours is bad, then they will help us while we fix ours. However, the council of Carrillo has to approve it,” Chavarria explained.
Work in the communities of El Cacao and Bernabela will continue for the rest of this week.