For the first time in Central America, an exclusive event dedicated to the protection of the oceans and an affective waste management is held from February 22 to 25, 2018 in Panama City (Fuerte Amador, Flamenco Island): “RESIDUOS RECICLADOS, OCÉANOS LIMPIOS”. This initiative is led by the SUEZ Group and its guest, the Race For Water Foundation: the two entities want to raise awareness among the general public about the need to optimize the management and to promote the waste recycling, through various information actions and local events.
The town hall of Panama supports this project considering the prevention and education are the first actions needed to implement a good waste management. This project is part of a wider territorial dynamic: the objective is to promote a change in behaviour regarding the production, separation and classification of waste considering that “islands of garbage” have appeared in the Pacific and Caribbean regions.
In Panama and Colombia, one generates more than 1.2 kg of waste per day, which is mostly dumped into rivers and seas, with catastrophic impacts on biodiversity. This situation is frightening since Panama has a unique mangrove forest whereas Colombia hosts 70% of the typical marine species within the biogeographic region of the “tropical eastern Pacific”. Thus, it is important to identify and valorise technological solutions in terms of waste management to protect these resources.
In this way, “RESIDUOS RECYCLADOS, OCÉANOS LIMPIOS” has started on February 22 with the implementation of a students workshop within the famous 100% ecological catamaran of Race For Water. Indeed, fifteen students from the Technological University of Panama (UTP) and the ISMUTH (School of Architecture) discovered the ship and the objectives of the workshop: studying the issues of the urban development of Panama associated with a good waste management. The following days are dedicated to a press conference, the testimonies of local and international actors (ANCON, UN Environment) and awareness activities for adults and children as well as the employees of SUEZ.
“The protection of the oceans is highly important within the fight against global warming and the preservation of biodiversity. In Central America, Panama and Colombia, as everywhere else, SUEZ considers the protection of the oceans as one of its top priorities. We intend to provide concrete solutions to limit the marine pollution from the sources: less waste and less untreated wastewater. In the capitals of Panama or Bogota, more than half of the waste is not recycled: rivers and beaches are littered with hazardous wastes that jeopardize the marine life. SUEZ is determined to play a key role in developing a sustainable waste management policy.” explained Ana Giros, General Director of SUEZ in Latin America.
“Race For Water is not only trying to raise the awareness about the actual state of oceans. We also want to offer solutions that can help fighting water pollution arising from land. The ETIA solution makes possible to transform plastic waste into energy, it can be seen as an added value for the economic growth of countries.” explains Marco Simeoni, President of the Foundation Race For Water. “This alliance with SUEZ and this stopover in Panama are an opportunity for both of us considering that we share similar values and the same objective: to reduce marine pollution”
It has been more than 50 years that SUEZ is present in the region, supporting the development of coastal cities such as the city of Panama or Cartagena de Indias. Thus, the Group built the first wastewater treatment plant of Panama and numerous drinking water treatment units in the Caribbean islands (Barbados, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Jamaica). Today, nearly 3 million people benefit from the sanitation services of SUEZ throughout Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia..