I just came back from a trip to Puerta Vallarta and is was a eye-opener. When you think of Mexico you think of sunshine, tropics, culture, ruins, art and parties. You may think of poverty, corruption and safety. If you have visited Mexico, you might be thinking of pollution and trash… you might have said “How could people live this way!”.
After being in Mexico for two weeks, a new reality hit me. The reason that trash is piled up on the street corners. There is no place else to put a trash can. In the older parts of Mexico, the houses were built in blocks and old colonial houses. There are no garages, no alleys, no place to put trash. The cost to modernize is huge in a poverty state. Consequently the trash is put in a large plastic bags and put in the street every day to be picked up on a daily basis. Not only that the street sweeper is actually a man with a broom, who walks around the street and sweeps up the trash.
In Puerta Vallarta, there are some recycling bins and a few pickers that are only picking up the cans. The trash pickers get about 10 pesos for 1 kilo of cans. Unfortunately the majority of containers are plastic. Yet millions of plastic bottles go into landfills. Worse yet, plastic bags will most likely never be eliminated, because they are all reused for trash.
Another reality, tourism has a lot to do with trash. As Mexico continues to grow as a tourist and expat destination, places such as CanCun, Cozumel, Puerta Vallarta pollutions levels are destroying the total environment. What I saw on the street and in the trash.. hundreds of plastic water bottles, beer cans, beer bottles, wine bottles, food wrappers. Just like we have in the USA. Most of the cities and towns do not have an infra-struction for trash and sewage.
Aside from the ‘mis-spent’ funds is the dealing with trash and raw sewage more important that the almighty tourist dollar? I don’t know. I wasn’t there long enough to find out more information about recycling in Puerta Vallarta. I do know, there are several groups that are picking up beach trash .
- In 2014 over 19 Million People visited Mexico
- Over 3.3 Million People Visit Cancun Every year
- Tulum generates around 80 tons of trash a day
- Tourism is Mexico’s Fifth Source of Income
- 2011 Mexico City closed their largest landfill Bordo Pointe after it being filled with over 78 Million Tons of Trash. It was a huge issue, as to what to do with the 12,000 tons of trash every day.
- Cruise Ship ports include: Matazlan, Puerta Vallarta, CanCun, Cozmel, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz.
Back in 2005, one man solved a recycling issue. He made his own floating private island out of 15,000 plastic water bottles. The island is call Joyxee and is off the coast of CanCun in Isla Mujeres.
One of my biggest revelations was that trash is everywhere. Mexico may have an excuse, but we in the USA do not. The only difference between Mexico and the USA is their trash is overt. Ours is scattered on the roadside, the streets and our beaches. Littering, Illegal dumping and a lack of consideration for our environment is rife all over the world. Each of us both in the USA and international, must work together to clean up our environments.
- Governing– Mexico City Recycling Incentive
- Cities Today How Mexico has turned garbage into fuel.
- Sustain Blog– How to recycle plastic bottles into an island
- PV Angels Recyclers of Bucerias
- Recycling Product News– Recycling in CanCun- Composting Food in CanCun
- Web1 Cancun– CanCun Beach Pollution
- Climate Change in Mexico
- Tulum Recycling Center
- Beach Cleaning in the biosphere Sian Ka’an in Tulum, Mexico