Half a Ton of Plastic Stops Floating in the Gulf of Nicoya Thanks to Waste Collection at Sea

FAICO in coordination with volunteers from different organizations collect half a ton of plastic waste in the San Lucas Island National Park and its surrounding waters.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica. On May 30, within the framework of the 30th anniversary of the Friends of Cocos Island Foundation (FAICO), a successful campaign to clean up floating solid waste in the Gulf of Nicoya was carried out.

More than 85 volunteers from the community, tour operators, private companies, local government, the Coco Marine Conservation Area and FAICO, joined together to collect half a ton (500 kg) of plastic waste in the sea and beaches of the San Lucas Island National Park.

This waste was then taken to a special treatment with the support of the Municipality of Esparza and the company Tecnoambiente.

Limpieza flotante Golfo de Nicoya Faico 1

The activity, which made it possible to collect waste from the Tempisque, Barranca, Tárcoles and Tambor rivers, contributed significantly to the mitigation of pollution of marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Promoting actions that raise awareness about marine plastic pollution is one of the main objectives of the activity to generate a positive impact on the communities of Puntarenas and for the health of marine ecosystems.

Alejandra Villalobos, executive director of FAICO, said:

Alejandra Villalobos, executive director of FAICO“Promoting actions that raise awareness about marine plastic pollution is part of FAICO’s objectives. For more than 5 years we have been successfully carrying out cleanup activities in Cocos Island and communities in Puntarenas. In addition, we support the development of research related to microplastics with academia. We are grateful for the support of all the organizations and volunteers who accompanied us, today we know that the ocean is an interconnected ecosystem, and our effort in this place will reach our also beloved and unique Cocos Island.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, the ordinary waste generated in Costa Rica during 2021 was 1,618,533 tons (approximately 4,434 tons per day).

Of these, 90.4% (1,462,601 tons) are collected and transferred to final disposal, with 79.2% disposed of in landfills and landfills, while 11.2% are retained in streets, vacant lots, rivers and streams.

Plastic pollution has a significant impact on marine environments, and our environmental commitment must start in our own homes and be sustained by supporting initiatives like this.

The day included the hoisting of the Ecological Blue Flag in the beach category for Tumbabotes beach in the Isla San Lucas National Park.

Stefanny Forester, environmental manager of the University of Costa Rica, said:

“The articulation and sum of efforts in favor of our oceans is significant, the equation is only possible thanks to the awareness and wills of many people and especially FAICO, when considering Puntarenas as part of the celebration of its 30th anniversary, in particular to San Lucas Island. This day has allowed us to join hands, reduce the pressure exerted by solid waste on marine-coastal ecosystems and recognize each other for the same cause: resilient and healthy oceans”.

The cleanup was supported by SC Johnson Centroamérica and the participation of various organizations, including:

  • Coco Marine Conservation Area
  • Friends of Cocos Island Foundation
  • Pacific Marine Park
  • Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Association of Tour Operators of Puntarenas (ASOTUP)
  • Puntarenas Chamber of Tourism
  • Municipality of Esparza
  • Interinstitutional and Communal Network Pro Puntarenas
  • National Technical University
  • University of Costa Rica
  • Costa Rican Red Cross
  • Fire Department of Costa Rica
  • Costa Rican Tourism Board
  • Coco’s Island Restaurant