A day at the dump

Every year thousands of people spend their holidays in the Manuel Antonio area – they take back amazing memories, but sadly they don’t take back their rubbish. It’s a huge challenge to dispose of the waste they create in a way that will not harm the fragile surrounding ecosystems. Given the limited infrastructure and funding, it is also difficult to implement recycling systems that will reduce the amount of waste that stays at local dumps. As part of Arenas del Mar‘s commitment to supporting local recycling and waste management projects, we visited the Anita Dump just outside of Quepos to see how the hotel could help.

Dropping off rubbish

When we arrived, it was immediately clear that Anita isn’t like a dump you might see in the US or Europe. People simply drive up to the rubbish pile and offload their waste, which is then sorted by hand by the staff working there. I was surprised to see how badly equipped the staff were for the work they are doing.

 Worker at the dump

It was encouraging to see that, despite the limited resources, a lot of the rubbish is being recycled. The image below shows the different types of glass, which are first separated and then crushed before being sent away to a recycling centre.

Broken glass for recycling

Plastic drinks bottles are also collected, crushed and then put into large canvas bags so that they too can be recycled.

Recycling plastic bottles

In spite of the efforts being made, there is still room for improvement. We were told that all of the plastic bottles in the below image will be sent to the ocean to be used as buoys. Inevitably, many of them will simply break and float away to join the rest of the huge amount of plastic floating in the Pacific.

Old plastic bottles

I left the dump feeling sad that people have to work in these conditions while wealthy tourists sit back in their luxurious surroundings only a few kilometres away. But it was also inspiring to see how much can be achieved with so little infrastructure and means.

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