After 27 days of no trash collection, a commission of concerned members of the community took the trash problem into their own hands: literally taking to the streets and getting their hands dirty. Tired of seeing more buzzards than people around Bocas Town, the group organized a trash collection through the cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism and kind donations from various members of the community.
The Ministry of Tourism provided a truck and an excavator. The Chacon brothers donated the use of 3 trucks to move the garbage. Donations were collected to cover the costs of fuel, garbage bags, gloves, as well as water, food and pay for those working to move the trash. Gabina Cerrud offered her land for the burial of the trash even though the municipalities are not paying her. The collection began on August 22nd and was finished on August 26th. This is the first step in an organized effort to rectify the issue of garbage collection on the islands.
A series of meetings have been scheduled with government officials where various ideas for a permanent solution will be addressed. One clear objective of the group is to make recycling an obligation by law, not in all of Panama but at least here on the islands. Other ideas to be addressed will be whether to continue burying the trash or to build an incinerator. If the trash is to going to be continued to be buried, than it must be decided where it will be buried and how it will be paid for.
The group hopes to collaborate with the local government to make a proposal to the national government in order to appropriate funds for whatever action is to be taken. Many thanks to all those who took action in what will hopefully be the beginning of the end of the garbage issue in Bocas del Toro.