ISSN: 1659-2751



Recycling of Wastes: A Beneficial and Sustainable Option for the Municipality of Bluefields-Nicaragua


EARTH University, with the support of the Alcoa Foundation, has conducted an investigation of the management of solid wastes in rural communities in Latin America and the municipality of Bluefields was one of the study sites. The objective of this present project was the establishment of a plan for the integrated solid waste management in this municipality. The information presented is the result of a revision of secondary sources of other studies of solid waste management in the municipality including investigations, consultations, and diagnostics conducted by different institutions, government organizations, particularly the mayor’s office, non government organizations, undergraduate and graduate students, and independent consultants. To complement and augment this information, and to examine this issue in more detail, comprehensive interviews were conducted with experts in the area, as well as with 480 families in neighborhoods of the municipality. A visual analysis of solid wastes and their management was conducted in different neighborhoods, educational institutions, and businesses in the municipality. In addition, the route and collection conditions of the solid wastes collectors were investigated and a protocol for solid waste analysis (SWAP) was conducted. To complete the objectives of the project within the context of the existing situation, a multidisciplinary team was formed consisting of Sociology and Agroforestry students from the municipality. The reason to form this team was two-fold: first as a learning experience, taking into account that the topic of solid waste management in the municipality for different reasons is not a priority, and second to augment the human capital in the municipality who have the knowledge and experience in the area and who can facilitate the outreach and communication process in the community. There definitely exists the opportunity and potential for waste recycling in the municipality and this activity would lead to the creation of new employment prospects. In addition to minimizing the negative environmental impact, recycling practices also would subsidize the cost of waste collection in the municipality, offering improved service and adequate hygienic practices for the region. In line with the objective of this project, the establishment of an integrated solid waste management for the municipality, the participation of all the stakeholders is of the utmost importance. As well, the design of this plan must consider the characteristics of the municipality to guarantee its relevance in a social-cultural context. The information in this study provides a insight into the actual situation of waste generation in Bluefields. It also represents for this municipality an event of notable importance, particularly for the development of a plan that incorporates the geographic, socioeconomic, environmental and cultural characteristics of the community. At that same time it offers the opportunity to look for alternatives that contribute to the establishment of multicultural, environmentally friendly, sustainable communities.

Key words: Ethic communities, inter-institutional coordination, solid waste, environmental management, indigenous communities.

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