Fifty volunteers collecting waste from the TárcolesRiver, on the central Pacific coast, pulled 1,200 tires and inner tubes from its infamously stinky waters in a matter of hours Saturday.
The cleaning efforts, which focused on a sandy area popular with swimmers and on the section of the river that runs below a bridge on the route to Jacó beach, were sponsored by the Public Health Ministry, the Social Security System (Caja), community leaders from Tárcoles and Playa Azúl, Hotel Punta Leona, Bridgestone-Firestone and tourist company Jungle Cocodrile Safari, according to the daily La Nación.
Volunteers included employees of private business, community members and government workers.
The purpose of the event was to reduce breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever. The insects breed in standing water, making rain or river water in old tires a primary culprit for the spread of the disease. The Public Health Ministry has urged citizens to eliminate standing water in their homes and communities, even small amounts such as water found in flower vases.
Volunteers handed the tires over to private company Fundellantas for processing, the daily reported. Similar cleanups have taken place in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, which, along with Puntarenas, has been hard-hit by the disease in the past.