By the A.M. Cost Rica
Bad roads and local scandals overshadow other
problems as Costa Ricans cast votes for
municipal officials Sunday, but in some cantons
there is another burning issue.
Candidates in six cantons have signed pledges to
work against proposals to incinerate garbage.
The candidates include some from national-level
parties. The candidates are on record supporting
what is being called integral management of
waste. This is basically recycling.
Garbage is a major municipal problem in Costa
Rica. Some cantons simply are running out of
landfill space or the haulage costs are becoming
Incineration is not just about burning garbage.
There are four proposals that are being
considered now, and each includes plans to use
the incinerator heat to generate electricity,
which would be sold to the state power company,
the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.
Four projects already are being considered for
approval. They are in Carrillo and proposed by
Coopeguanacaste, in El Coyol and proposed by
Wastelectric, in León Cortes and proposed by
Agropecuaria Setenta Cuarenta y Ocho and another
in La Uruca, according to Hacia Basura
Cero-CR, which opposes them.
The U.S. firm Wastelectric says it is planning
to invest $390 million.
Other projects may be officially proposed for
Parrita, Coyol, La Carpio, Atenas and Pavas, the
The canton of León Cortés has been a
battleground on this issue with the local
Grupo Ecologista opposing incineration.
The dispute now is more about land ownership
than the benefits or perils of
Wastelectric has this photo on its
Facebook page showing the proposed El Coyol
incineration. The firm does not yet havetitle
to the land it wants, according to
environmentalists there. They seek to have the
Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental throw out
the application. That agency has final approval.
The canton is in the coffee-growing Valle de los
Santos south of Desamparados, north of and
east of Aserrí.
Candidates for mayor in León Cortés from
Movimiento Libertario, the Partido Liberación
Nacional and the local Pactico Acción Ciudadana
have signed the pledge to oppose incineration,
said Hacia Basura Cero-CR. Some of the
candidates in Curridabat, Santo Domingo, Pococí,
San Pedro and Belén also have pledged to oppose
incineration, said the organization.
The Secretaría Técnica has frozen the
applications it has until May. The incineration
projects probably would not be successful
without the support of the local municipality.
Much of the stated concern involves possible ill
effects on the residents from incinerator
emissions. There also is a dose of the
philosophy to reduce consumption and promote
recycling. There are a number of incineration
technologies, and each proposal has to be