Keeping water clean and waste-free in Costa Rica | Global Ideas | DW | 04.03.2021

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Global Ideas

Keeping water clean and waste-free in Costa Rica

With most of its energy coming from renewables, the country has become a model for environmental protection. Now it is setting its sights on improving garbage management.

Costa Rica and water conservation

Every second, an estimated 350 liters of water gush out of the famous Ojo de Agua spring in Belen, an area a few kilometers from Costa Rica's capital San Jose.

Water is recognized as a crucial source of life in Costa Rica. Last year, the right to access drinking water was enshrined in the constitution.

But the country is also working on guaranteeing the sustainable protection of water sources like the Ojo de Agua for future generations.

There are an estimated 30 springs in Belen, which is home to around a million residents. The municipality there is setting its sights on cleaning up the water by improving systems of waste management. They want to avoid rubbish ending up in the soil where it can pollute groundwater or leak into local springs.

Information about climate-friendly composting and waste separation has been sent to hundreds of households. Waste inspectors are also on the road ensuring different materials are disposed of correctly. Sorting through and reselling waste is providing a source of income to some struggling financially in the country.

Project goal: The International Climate Initiative (IKI) project Vertically Integrated Climate Protection (VICLIM) aims to take national climate goals and turn them into concrete measures at the city level that can be measured for their impact. 

Project duration: 2016 - 2020 (The project is completed but the measures will continue).

Project funding: Internationally the project was funded with €3.2 million by the German Environment Ministry. The film focuses on the measures in Costa Rica.

Partner organizations: Municipality of Belen, Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) in Costa Rica. 

A film by Katja Döhne

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