In essence, it is a barrier that will retain the garbage that circulates through the river and throw it towards the banks, where it will be easier to collect, so that neither the riverbed nor the sea is contaminated. This is how the first solid waste collection fence installed in Costa Rica will work. That way, they will have the enormous challenge of protecting the Virilla River.
The intention is to convert part of the collected materials into construction inputs. The mechanism captures floating solid debris. The main concern arises from the large volume of plastic waste.
The project is expected to retain up to 80% of the waste currently emitted by the Central Valley into this body of water, which by its nature is highly polluted. This occurs because the Virilla is fed by the María Aguilar and Torres rivers, which, in turn, receive water from other urban rivers in the western sector of the Central Valley, thus making it one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Finally, it flows into the Pacific Ocean.
The fence cost US$68,000 and will be located in Belén. It has an extension of 60 meters and its useful life is estimated at about 25 years. It was promoted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Organization for Tropical Studies (OET) and private companies.
Taking much more care of Costa Rican rivers
The goal is to subsequently install similar fences on other rivers, but without this implying a reduction in efforts against pollution. “We are happy to support the country with the installation of this fence; but we must not let our guard down”, said UNDP Deputy Representative in Costa Rica, KifahSasa. “We must maintain the country’s efforts for a significant decrease in the use and consumption of plastic materials; promoting proper solid waste management and circular economy logics”, he added.