ISSN: 1659-2751



A Model for the Management of Ordinary Solid Waste for the District of Pocora in Costa Rica


Environmental contamination, including generation of solid and liquid waste, is an indicator of social, political, and ecological problems that deteriorate the quality of life in a community. In a rural community, the wastes produced are different in composition, quantity and quality from those produced in urban and industrial areas. For that reason, established technologies for waste management in these areas are not well suited for implementation in small rural communities. For the adaptation and criteria for solid domestic waste management that is accordance with the reality of a small community, like the case of Pocora, the objective of this study was to propose a model for the integrated solid waste management that is practical and meets the needs of this community. To this end, the processes for a system of integrated solid waste management, as well as the laws in Costa Rica regarding this activity, were investigated. The following activities were included in the study: travel with the refuse truck to gain a better understanding of the problems encountered on the route, as well as to make a visual classification of the types of waste produced; sort and weigh classification of the types and quantities of waste produced; and follow up inspection and assessment of the disposal site for the waste, a municipal dump on a farm in Cartagena, Río Jiménez. In the quantification and composition of the refuse stream, three types of waste accounted for almost 80 % of the total solid waste produced: organic material (50 %), non-recyclable plastic products (15 %) and sanitary wastes (12 %). The community of Pocora, the municipality of Guácimo, and the Ministries of Health and of the Environment and Energy, of Costa Rica experience planning, organization and integration problems in the sequence of activities of collection, transport and disposal of these wastes. The model proposed for the integrated solid waste management in this rural area involves the community and the local businesses as well as the government agencies and other who can offer logistical, technical, and economic support for the proposal. The proposal recommends the creation of Department of the Environment in the municipality of Guácimo to offer assessments and services to the communities in their districts, for this model of solid domestic waste management.

Key words: Sort and weigh classification, visual classification, rural communities, environmental contamination, solid domestic waste, district of Pocora.

Artículo en español (pdf) (9750)