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The community clean-up: Viviana’s project to tackle litter and waste in Tuis

As a graduate of the Greentalist campaign, Viviana started an initiative to create a cleaner and more environmentally friendly community.

7th January 2022

Vivinna is a Sustainable Development Engineering student in Tuis, Costa Rica. As a graduate of the Action Not Excuses Greentalist campaign, Vivianna started an environmental initiative in her community to create cleaner and more environmentally friendly spaces

In 2021 I walked around my community and started observing a lot of solid litter and waste around. The more I passed through these places, the more I noticed it. This situation, besides from being visually annoying, felt like a violation of my right to develop in a clean, healthy and safe environment.

It made me question: Why is it normal to see garbage on the streets of my community? And, what can I do to change this?

I started to plan an initiative that allowed me to recover these spaces, to develop a sense of ownership through litter-picking campaigns.

I had doubts in relation to the community response to my idea, but nevertheless, my interest in being an environmental agent of change prevailed. So I openly called for the first waste collection campaign and successfully recruited 11 people to participate.

To our surprise, in that first collection campaign we discovered at the river a furtive dump, which was compromising the water resource. We decided we had to take action and focus on the protection and conservation of this water resource, as well as the separation of recoverable and non-recoverable materials from the water. To do this we needed to request support from the Aqueduct Association Administration (ASADA by its meaning in Spanish), and from there our recycling campaigns arose.

As a group of volunteers leading this initiative, knowledge was limited regarding waste management. So I provided educational guidelines and learning sessions on waste management so others could put it to use in the following waste collection campaigns. Through these learning sessions, volunteers strengthened their sense of belonging to the project, as well as gratitude when recovering friendly, clean and safe spaces.

This initiative was made possible by the granting of the seed capital from the Action Not Excuses Greentalist project. It was also possible due to the alliances created with a group of volunteers, organizations and local businesses, including Asociación Administradora de Acueducto (ASADA), La Esmeralda Bakery, Suppliers of Goods and Services S.A, Local garbage collection service, San Francisco Soccer School and the Eben-Ezer Material Factory.

To date we have completed 5 waste collection campaigns, mobilizing 72 people into action. I have provided educational spaces so others can learn about the responsible separation of solid waste and I have built awareness of the issue by placing informational signs about the conservation of water resources around the community. We have also delivered a significant amount of recoverable material to the corresponding entities for recycling,

Socially an impact has been generated in the community by promoting respect for the fundamental human right to have a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. We also found that the initiative attracted people who faced socially stigma for addictions, so it has had a positive social impact to involve them in these spaces.

I feel very proud of the job done and grateful for the support received on this initative. My project is creating a positive environmental and social impact in my community.

Being a member of Greentalist allowed me to understand that young people are not the generation of the future, we are the generation of the present and that all small actions that we carry out from our community can forge great results.

If you want to get involved or get more information about this initiative, you can contact Viviana at the following email: brenesv97@gmail.com

Now is the time for Action Not Excuses. Tomorrow is too late.

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