San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Water-Lily Paper Could Help Lake, Community

THE rapidly growing water lily iscausing serious problems in the Cachíreservoir, in the Orosi Valley east of SanJosé. But it could soon be a source of revenuefor residents of the area, who havebeen affected by an agricultural crisis,according to the Technology Institute ofCosta Rica (ITCR).The institute is promoting technologythat uses fibers from the lily to makepaper and cardboard.The aquatic plants cover 172 hectaresof the reservoir, and produce 150 metrictons daily, according to the institute.The institute is helping train smallbusinesses in the area in the manufacturingof water-lily paper. So far, 60 communityleaders have expressed interest,according to the institute.An agreement between ITCR and theCosta Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) hasallowed a loan of 30,000 square meters ofthe reservoir for 30 years for the extraction,processing and storage of water lily.The production of water-lily productswill not only provide jobs in processing,but also through related small businesses,which can focus on the design, packagingand commercialization of such products,the institute said

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