The Municipal Council of Bagaces approved an agreement to change the work schedule of those responsible for garbage collection and maintenance of public spaces, which are exposed daily to solar radiation. The decision seeks to contribute to the prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a problem that especially affects the province of Guanacaste.

The neighbor of Bagaces, Analive Ramírez, expressed his concern about the “epidemics” of ERC in the canton during the municipal session on March 12th, 2019. “There are families in which a grandfather, a son, and a grandchild have these conditions”, said Ramírez.

Diseases in the kidneys killed 1,744 people from Guanacaste from 1990 to 2013. Bagaces was among the cantons with the most deaths (533); along with Liberia (1,404), Cañas (1,005), Santa Cruz (842), Carrillo (742), and Nicoya (730).

In the municipality, there are 46 officials working in garbage collection, maintenance of parks, and the cemetery. All are men and have an average age of 41 years, according to Human Resources data.

Garbage collectors of the municipality of Guanacaste

The garbage collector, Daniel Ferreto explained that he and his colleagues are very aware of the problem. “We protect ourselves. Our work clothes have sun protection, we wear hats and we always try to walk well hydrated”, he added. The official stressed that municipal support is needed to pay for hydration, which comes from the collectors’ pocket.

The person in charge of Human Resources of the municipality, Xinia Ruiz, affirmed that measures have been taken to favor the health of the employees. “For example, the strongest work is done before noon so that, during the hours of more sunshine, workers are in the shade”, explained the official.

The Bagaceño councilor, José Alfredo Jiménez, said that this type of measure is part of a cultural change necessary for Guanacastecans and hopes that it will be an impetus for other municipalities.

Now the proposal must go to Human Resources and, once the new schedule is defined, the Council must vote and approve the change of the municipal regulation. The measure will be firm after its official publication in the newspaper La Gaceta.