You would not throw garbage in the lake, would you?

by Mette Dam, Denmark, ELP 2015
Written on July 3, 2015.

"You would not throw garbage in the lake, would you?"

The above citation stems from Bernis, a young lawyer from Nicaragua. He will be launching a project this year that aims to not not just raise awareness but also create behavioral change among the citizens in Granada to stop throwing garbage in the streets.

Bernis and I are both participants at the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program 2015 and both of us work with waste management. However as we start to talk about the issues we face in our daily work, it becomes clear that waste management in Nicaragua faces a whole other challenge than the kind of waste management I work with. Over 90% of the waste never reaches a bin, but are mainly just thrown in the streets and do not get any special treatment.

Over 90% is a huge amount! However, luckily for Grenada and Nicaragua, Bernis and his team are going to change that. Bernis and his organization, CAC Consultora Legal, have made a plan where education, young people and even a cool song will help them reach the goal of collecting 90% of the waste in Grenada. Personally, I am very excited about this project and I know that you will be as well, which is the reason I asked Bernis to talk about his work.

I am very curious to hear the promoting song so Bernis starts to sing the catchy song and the message is clear. The chorus goes: “Don’t throw throw throw throw garbage at the street.” However it is not clear to the people of Grenada that when they throw garbage in the streets it will end up in Nicaragua’s beautiful nature. This is the main issue of the project and it will be addressed by creating awareness of the consequences and teaching people that it is important to throw waste in a bin so the rainwater will not lead it out into the lakes.

The communication part has an intergenerational approach as young motivated pro-environmental people will educate both children in schools and adults in companies. As there is no good waste infrastructure in Grenada, the project also includes the creation of a company that can process the waste.

The project is funded by a diverse group of private investors. Bernis used to work for a company with partners from all over the world and when they came to visit Nicaragua and went to the nature, the waste problem was very visible making it easy for them to see the problem and thereby be likely to fund the project. The goal is to collect 90% of the waste in Grenada and expand the project to the rest of Nicaragua, which I personally hope and believe is going to happen.