What started as a student-led project to clean up the local soccer field and school grounds has led to a community wide effort in Bahia Ballena to keep the city clean. Local efforts have made a huge difference in managing trash, and in turn, helping to protect the waters of adjacent Marino Ballena National Park.
Weekly cleanups that mapped collected trash, led to local businesses organizing resources to construct mini trash and recycling centers around town. Discussions with the local municipality have led to an agreement for the municipality to pick up the trash from these eight new trash/recycling containers in town. Local businesses still retain the responsibility for placing bags in the containers to ensure an easy pickup for the municipality.
While Anita and I were visiting Bahia Ballena in September, we encountered U.S. tourists Laurie and Bob who were participating in community projects through Discover Corps during the 7th Annual Festival of Whales and Dolphins. We first met them picking up an empty soda bottle to recycle when they recognized Amy. When asked how they were enjoying the Festival, they replied how different the community was to that of the community across the river where they had visited earlier in the week. In that community, they had purchased ice cream from the store and searched extensively just to throw away the wrapper. They remarked how clean the Bahia Ballena soccer field was earlier that day where they played a makeshift softball game and how the houses and shops leading to the park were brightly colored and the trash centers were brightly painted. “I would love to come down and volunteer more in this community” remarked Laurie to which her husband replied, “It is great to spend my vacation in a place that is excited and appreciative to work on their community spaces!”. We couldn’t agree more!
Geoporter seeks to catalyze change here and our neighboring communities!
~ Roger Palmer