Women Revolutionise Waste Management on Nicaraguan Island
By José Adán Silva
ALTAGRACIA, Nicaragua, Sep 7 2015 (IPS) – A group of poor women from Ometepe, a beautiful tropical island in the centre of Lake Nicaragua, decided to dedicate themselves to recycling garbage as part of an initiative that did not bring the hoped-for economic results but inspired the entire community to keep this biosphere reserve clean.It all began in 2007. María del Rosario Gutiérrez remembers her initial interest was piqued when she saw people who scavenged for waste in Managua’s garbage dumps fighting over the contents of bags full of plastic bottles, glass and metal.How much could garbage be worth for people to actually hurt each other over it? she wondered. She was living in extreme poverty, raising her two children on her own with what she grew on a small piece of communal land in the municipality of Altagracia, and the little she earned doing casual work.Gutiérrez talked to a neighbour, who told her that in Moyogalpa, the other town on the island, there was an office that bought scrap metal, glass and plastic bottles.The two women checked around and found in their community a person who bought waste material from local hotels, washed it and sold it to Managua for recycling.
I enjoy posting positive stories, and this is definitely one of those. A win-win situation has developed as these women have organized themselves into a waste management collective to pickup recycling of trash (that comes mostly from tourists as they pickup from hotels on the Ometepe Island.