Environmental and visual pollution, caused by poor disposal of solid waste, is a problem in Ayapel, where Colombia's second most important wetland is located. Unfortunately, the absence of a recycling and waste disposal culture resulted in most waste ending up on the streets or finding its way into the sensitive wetland. CorpoAyapel implements an innovative social, economic and environmental model for recycling solid waste and preventing further degradation of the ecosystem.
In Ayapel solid waste collection takes place only in the urban area. In rural areas there is no cleaning service and garbage is either dumped in the swamp, incinerated or buried. The biggest challenge of this project is to educate and raise awareness among the population about the importance of recycling and the appropriate use of solid waste to protect their health, their environmental wealth and to generate economic income from the collection and transformation of this waste.
CorpoAyapel employs a multifaceted approach to address the challenge of solid waste disposal and promote environmental sustainability. It has a small press to compact plastic bottles, facilitating their transportation; incorporates educational activities focused on environmental protection and the importance of preserving the wetland ecosystem; and has an initiative called the EcoStore, where donated items are asigned a value in kilograms of recycled waste, so the community "buys" with plastic.
By implementing this approach, CorpoAyapel has fostered a sense of community engagement and ownership while simultaneously promoting recycling and responsible waste management practices. This initiative not only contributes to the reduction of solid waste but also serves as a preventive measure against further degradation of the wetland, thus safeguarding public health and ecological well-being.