March 9, 2021

The culture of recycling forges hard battle to prevail in Panama

Recycling faces indifference and budget problems in Panama City, where an environmental association and the neighbors of five buildings struggle and move forward in promoting this culture of reuse.

A decade has passed since the 'En Ambiente' project of the National Association of the Conversation of Nature (Ancon) started, which consists in the volunteers who, at the first Thursday of each month, collecting waste at a specific point in the city. the citizens.

And since 2016, five buildings located in the north of the capital have a recycling area designed by Ancon.

"There are not many" buildings involved in the program, acknowledges Efe Anthony Atencio, one of the six workers involved in the project, although he assures that those who live in these complexes "collaborate a lot" and that in one of them the same neighbors classify the waste.

This initiative is part of the "Zero Waste" program promoted by Ancon, Panama City Hall, the Urban and Domiciliary Cleaning Authority, Cervecería Nacional S.A. and Tocumen Airport.

The project had the objective of collecting recyclable material in the homes but due to cost issues, it was decided to install recycling stations at strategic points.

And it is precisely the budget issue that has prevented more recycling stations from being installed in the city's buildings, said Ancon's environmental education assistant, Dalquis Staziola.

19% of the waste handled in the capital is plastic, according to data from the Mayor's Office of Panama. Only organic waste represents a greater amount (30%).

A report from the municipality also indicated that in 2015, 143.6 tons of plastic were imported into Panama, which is equal to the weight of 22,622 elephants of 6.3 tons each, or to 5,518 40-foot containers.

At the moment there are still few recycling points in the capital and the "Zero Waste" project has 31 recycling points that can be found in Google Maps.

At the same time, some companies have waste separation programs and have installed several stations such as Recicla Panamá, in the area of ​​Juan Díaz (southwest of the metropolis); Recimetal, in Calidonia (urban center); Fas Panama in the City of Knowledge (southwest), Renew Panama in Punta Pacifica (south of the capital), and the Riba Smith supermarkets.

Panama is trying to improve its environmental situation and in just days, from next July 20, Panamanian supermarkets and other commercial establishments will stop offering free plastic bags under a pioneering law in Central America that seeks to replace them with less polluting alternatives such as biodegradable bags, cardboard, cloth or yarn.

Polyethylene bags, a type of highly polluting plastic, take almost 400 years to decompose, while biodegradable bags disappear in just 25 or 30 years, according to experts.

The UN estimates that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped each year in the seas, equivalent to pouring a truck full of plastic per minute, and that 1 million birds and 1,000 sea turtles die as a result of this pollution each year.

And according to official Panamanian data cited by the UN Environment, 42% of the 4,372 tons of waste produced in the country end up in spaces such as bodies of water and the sea.

Ana de León

(tagsToTranslate) culture (t) recycling (t) battle (t) impose (t) Panama

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