Do you know how much plastic waste the barrier installed on the Virilla River collected? - Expat Community

Do you know how much plastic waste the barrier installed on the Virilla River collected?

Apr 26, 2024 | Costa Rica, News & Articles | 0 comments

by Irene Vizcaíno

Structure placed a year ago prevents waste from reaching the sea; material is transformed for use in construction, UNDP reported.

The collecting barrier installed a year ago in the Virilla River basin gathered one ton of plastic waste, which will no longer reach the sea and will be transformed into construction material.

According to information released this Friday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it is estimated that the Virilla River receives up to 80% of the floating waste that comes out of water bodies in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). This river, in turn, flows into the Grande de Tárcoles River that empties into the Pacific Ocean.

The structure was installed in March 2023 as part of the Plastic-Free Landscapes project, which brings together efforts from UNDP, organizations, and private companies.

“Plastic-Free Landscapes is the best demonstration of the implementation of Goal 17: Partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. (…) An effective intervention has been made in one of the most polluted rivers in the country, preventing plastic waste from reaching our Pacific coast,” emphasized José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, Resident Representative of UNDP in Costa Rica.

The floating barriers, explained the Program, are installed at points of high river pollution to stop floating plastic waste, with more collection during the rainy season. Their design does not affect aquatic life and improves the condition of the river downstream.

The collected plastic waste is subsequently transformed into RESIN8, which is synthetic sand used in construction, as stated in the press release by David Zamora from Pedregal. This ensures prolonged and sustainable use for these materials.

The program’s intention is to establish new partnerships to install more barriers at critical pollution points that have already been identified.

Other efforts to improve waste management
Other efforts to improve waste management include affirmative actions for awareness and environmental education promoted by the Urban Green Economy Transition Project (TEVU). Additionally, innovative and efficient mechanisms are sought for organic waste management, which represents approximately half of the waste that reaches landfills, according to Miriam Miranda Quirós, Project Coordinator of TEVU.

Miranda reported that together with municipalities like Belén, Alajuelita, and La Unión, they are working to improve garbage collection fee payments, organic waste utilization in educational centers, and composting. Also, with San José, they aim to convert over 20,000 tons of organics annually into pet food.

The results obtained with the barrier installation also serve as an alert to industry, commerce, institutions, and the population to assume responsibilities regarding pollution due to excessive use and consumption of these materials.

Juan Carlos Piñar, coordinator of the Plastic-Free Landscapes Project, explained that through the Consumo 180 project, also implemented by UNDP, they are working alongside Inteco to create technical standards addressing plastic pollution, including Plastic Footprint and Plastic Waste in the Environment standards, and a technical standard for Barriers in Water Bodies for Capturing Floating Waste.

“Our reality tells us that waste leaks into the environment partly due to poor management from our homes and also because there is inadequate infrastructure and equipment for proper recovery, valorization, recycling, and final disposal,” he stated.

It is estimated that the equivalent of 40 railroad cars of 10 cubic meters of plastic waste leaks into the environment every day.


Related Post

What is going on in your part of the world? Are there any news of relevance you believe should be translated to english? Comment below!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for Weekly News Summaries