Waste treatment in Panama and in Panamarina

From European perspective, the Panamanian attention for waste is limited to Panama City. In every other area, city or village one just puts everything together and that’s it. And that is the best option, because treating your bag of that costs money, so many people just drop there stuff. That is why you see so many plastic bottles in the water and on land.

In most villages, a public garbage can is rarity. Today I walked through Porto Belo, a town in the East of Panama, I bought me a nice snack on a wooden stick and ate it, but I walked with that stick one mile through the centre of the town to finde a carbage can. There was nonen. I ended up at the shop where I bought it and they had a carbage bag of their own.

The waste station of Panamarina

We entered Panamarina, a harbour with moorings and with a boatyard and all services. Including a sailmaker, a restaurant, et cetera.

Most amazing is the service of the waste station. I interviewed Silvie, who keeps office at the marina.

Let the pictures tell about it.

The waste station is made in a separate part of the workshop building. The sign on the right shows what waste streams there are. The old motor oil is not on it, but Panamarina also has a separate stream for that


Next to the old motor oil there are 9 streams.

Every waste stream as it should be

Next to the glass bottles also the plastic bottles and pots go separate. Silvie: “We discovered that not only we, but many people reuse them.”  Just wash them carefully and you have a life time storage for jelly, screws, whatever. The aluminium tins and the steel cans also are separately streamed, simply because it makes money for the recycling
Perhaps the most important stream is formed by the batteries. Especially the conventional ones are very toxic. Only one lead acid AA battery can pollute the amount of 3 swimming pools! Also the stream of electronic devices can seriously damage the environment. Most diodes and electronic switches contain very toxic materials. When not incinerated on a high temperature, they create dioxines and PCB’s and other carcinogens. Also the food rests go separate. It is always good for cattle or chickens.
The carton and paper is also recycled, but, Silvie has to admit that this stream can not be recycled to new paper, because the transport to Panama City is simply to costly. So often it is used to burn.

The final reststream is simply: anything that burns. Funny thing is, that these containers are always the empty ones. That makes sense: there is not many left over!

For me as an environmentalist, it is a great relief to see Panamarina being serious about waste. Also the Panamananiam personel seems to be more aware and keep everything clean here. What is so nice, the yard itself is cleaner than most yards.

Panamarina shows the example that it is possible to change. To create the awareness that we can all separate and treat waste, and most of all, create less waste. Mother Earth for all of us, also for the future generations.