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Nicoya Takes Step to Begin the Process of Closing Garbage Dump

By Oliver Pérez

Various people from Nicoya and Samara know that the colonial city's garbage dump collapsed 12 years ago. Efforts to solve the "stinky" problem didn't work and the Ministry of Health has closed the dump twice. However, it appears that this time the Municipality of Nicoya is looking for a final solution. The Municipality decided to begin the technical closure to diminish the environmental impact, and to create a recycling center to reduce the quantity of refuse that is sent to the dump.


Twenty years ago, the dump was located in Curime, but the population growth made it necessary to look for a bigger site. Today the dump is located on a 2.5 hectare property, three kilometers northeast of the city. Daily, the garbage trucks collect some 30 tons of trash that come from Nicoya and Samara.

Since 2004, the municipality of Nicoya has been burdened with constant sanitary closure orders by the Ministry of Health, along with an order from the Constitutional Court to initiate the process of technical closure. On February 21, 2008, the Ministry of Health placed closure seals at the site, but days later the mayor at the time, Bernardo Vargas, authorized continued depositing of refuse at the site.

Since then, mayors have come and gone but the only thing they have achieved is authorizing more time to avoid technical closure. Time has passed and the situation worsens.

A new awareness
With the passing of the years, the increase in the quantity of waste and the massive appearance of plastics and other materials that are slow to decompose have increased social awareness and led to stronger commitment to the conservation of the environment. As a consequence, the municipality has changed some practices for depositing solid wastes.

Elizabeth Fernández, in charge of the Municipality's Office of Environmental Management, said that 110 million colones ($220,000) was included in this year's budget to perform the technical closure. To further strengthen it, she indicated that the Municipality has contracted with two professionals to assist with the different stages of the technical closure.

"The integral handling of the solid wastes of the canton of Nicoya is a project with two fundamental axles: the implementation of a center for the recuperation of recyclable materials, and an environmental education program to create public awareness.



We are paralleling the collection of recyclable wastes with the opening of a collection center. Because of this, we are preparing the citizens to initiate a culture of separation of their garbage. With this, we will be freeing up the garbage dump," explained Fernandez.

But what will happen with the thirty tons of daily waste when the dump is definitely closed? To date, the town council doesn't have a property to substitute for the current dump. Even though in 2009 they bought a new property at a cost of 150 million colones ($300,000), located next to the current dump, this property can't be utilized. It sits above aqueous mantel that cannot be contaminated. No environmental studies were performed before closing the purchase of this property, and now the property is a problem that no one wants to address.

Elizabeth Fernandez said that, regarding this theme, the mayor Marco Jimenez is working to solve the problem. He seeks to purchase a different property that can substituted for the current one. "It would be a property where a real sanitary landfill could be constructed," explained Fernandez.

On June 10, the newspaper La Nación made known that 280,000 inhabitants of Guanacaste have serious problems in getting rid of the garbage that they produce due to the lack of sanitary landfills in this province.

Facing the shortage of alternatives, the municipalities try to give extensions to the orders from the Ministry of Health and the Constitutional Court to close or improve the current garbage dumps.


More Regional News

Police Continue Investigation of the Poisoning Death of a High School Student

A bizarre and saddening incident has shocked the community of Nosara. Tuesday August 23, 17 year old Hernandez was intercepted by two men on his way to school. The victim explain to the judicial police that a man allegedly assaulted him with a gun, forced him to drink poison and then robbed him of 50 000 colones and his cell phone.

Man in Samara attacks mayor over property dispute

As Mayor Marcos Jimenez was visiting Samara on Tuesday, August 23, Manfred Spitzbarth struck him twice with a club, according to witness Oscar Aquilino Baltodano, first in the stomach and then in the arm. He also hit another municipal official in the shoulder, Collection Agent Steven Alfaro Arnáez, collection agent, who then took the club away from him.

Proper Road Maintenance Too Costly for Nosara

Road maintenance between Samara and Ostional is at a standstill. The National Roads Authority (Conavi) is responsible for ongoing maintenance to Route 160 between the two villages but is facing a question of quality versus financial and legal obsticles.

Busy Week for Samara Police
One man stabbed in front of police station and two detained for fighting at a bar 

The Samara Police (Fuerza Publica) dealt with two incidents of aggression last week. As a result two men were detained and another man is, in effect, banished; he is restricted from coming within one kilometer of Samara. 

Lightning Strikes Killing American Woman

Thirty six year old, Jenifer Faith King, of Los Angeles, California was pronounced dead after being hit by lightning. The accident occurred in Ostional Beach, 11 kilometers from Nosara town, between three and four p.m. Thursday August 11.

Samara Police Proud Owners of Patrol Vehicle

Patrolling Samara and the surrounding communities just got easier for the public force with the addition of a valuable new resource: a pickup-style truck fitted with a topper to detain and transport suspects. 

Pilgrimage to Los Angeles: A Journey of the Heart

Each year, on August 2, Susana Rivera makes her way to the hilltop village of Los Angeles, Nosara, Guanacaste. This year, like years prior, Susana along with hundreds of Nosarenos make the pilgrimage to the top of San Juan Mountain to show respect to La Virgen de Los Angeles (the Virgin of the Angels), patroness of Costa Rica.

Domestic Violence
Trying to Break the Cycle
Woman discusses her ongoing battle with spousal abuse

They had been married about 6 months the first time it happened. He came home drunk and she asked him for the money she had earned at her job. They started fighting and he knocked her down the stairs of the two-story house they lived in. She tried to defend herself with a broom, but he cut the broom into pieces and cut her, leaving a permanent scar along her neck.

Association Will Seek Concession Over the Nosara River

The Nosara Development Association wants material from the Nosara River to benefit the community and expects that the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones (Energy and Telecomunicatin Minister), through the Dirección de Geología y Minas (Geology and Mines Department), will take them into consideration, granting them a concession to exploit the river's materials.

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