A coalition of government and environmental groups took the trash problem in Tamarindo into their own hands earlier this month.
Spearheaded by the Tamarindo Preserve Conservancy, part of a multimillion-dollar residential development project and one of the entities trying to create the Langosta National Wildlife Refuge, roughly 50 volunteers armed with gloves and trash bags collected approximately 90 cubic meters of garbage.
Conservancy Director Casandra Rauser said volunteers targeted the San Andres River of Santa Rosa and the San Francisco Estuary, which feeds into the Pacific Ocean on the south side of Tamarindo, which is in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
“It was pretty nasty,” she said. “We found tires, clothes, bicycles, chairs, plastic bottles, mattresses, fans, sofas, tin roofing material, cans, and (drug paraphernalia). In some areas, there was more trash than water.”
Rauser said three weeks after the cleanup, some of the areas have already been trashed again, often by residents living in the floodplains who have few options for getting rid of their garbage.
“The problem is people living along the river or in the mangroves who throw their trash directly into it or burn their trash right next to it,” she said.
“One of the things we want to do is educate people because this is really a lack of education. It’s often too late to educate the adults but if we can reach the children, we can turn this around in a generation.”
The director said the Santa Cruz municipality agreed to take the trash generated and have it dumped in the Pacific port town of Puntarenas. They also donated trash bags.
The other members of the coalition were the Environment Ministry, Coastal Spanish Institute, the El Llanito Association, Damas Amigas de Las Baulas, Las Baulas National Marine Park, Blue Dolphin Sailing and Ocean Eclipse.