River basin cleaning day organised by Tananeos Natural Reserve

The Tananeos Natural Reserve regularly organises participatory activities with the local community and public institutions, to aid the conservation of the local ecosystems. This time the theme was to clean the riverbed of the ¨Rio Manaure¨ and the micro watershed that originates in the village Manaure and passes through the Tananeos Natural Reserve.

We were joined by members of the Colombian National Army, representatives of UMATA (Municipal Technical Assistance Unit), the public entity ESPUMA and members of the community.

During 4 hours, 4 teams of 5-8 people were picking up all kinds of waste, washed downstream from the village Manaure during rainstorms. More than 50 bags of rubbish were collected and sorted in order to identify what types of waste were found and to evaluate the possibility of recycling parts of it.

It was a very productive yet worrying exercise due to the amount and kind of rubbish collected. The results highlighted the need of projects that raise environmental awareness among the local community.

The process of separating the waste, was aided by Alvaro Doria, a young entrepreneur, civil engineer, and founder of the start-up ¨Equilibrio”, which produces plastic construction blocks from recycled plastics. Alvaro also took part in the bioconstruction course, organised by the Tananeos Natural Reserve Foundation in 2013 and has since continued to investigate new ways of sustainable building techniques.

The cleaning day also gave birth to the idea of running a pilot project where waste of the village Manaure will be collected and separated in order to convert plastics into furniture or playgrounds for the community. This process is guided by ¨Fundación Equilibrio Social por el Planeta¨ (FESP), a Foundation that Works hand in hand with the company Equilibrio. Various members of the community are leading this project and so far, one of the main schools of the village have joined the initiative by starting a waste separation project with students.

We would like to thank all the participants in this cleaning day for their help and valuable support and we hope that this will be the start of a necessary change which contributes to the reduction and recycling of waste in benefit of the conservation of our natural resources.