Coastal clean-up project Pucusana

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Coastal Waste Dump Recuperation and Organic Waste Recycling Initiative in the Peruvian Fishing Town of Pucusana, Peru.

Time of implementation: March to July 2005

Main Sponsor: New England Biolabs Foundation

Local Partners: Municipality of Pucusana
Project Director: Ricardo Jimenez


  • Reduce local coastal and marine contamination and improve the sanitary situation in the community by:
  • eliminating an unmanaged garbage dump and recuperate a coastal cliff south of the fishing town of Pucusana,
  • reducing individual garbage dumping in the urban environment and
  • reducing the amount of organic waste produced in the community by promoting organic waste recycling via production of compost units.

Why was this project necessary?


Pucusana is a small fishing town of about 10,000 inhabitants, situated about 65 kilometers south of the country’s capital, Lima. Like many other fishing towns in Peru, waste treatment is a priority problem to be solved. Caused by the collapse of most of the fisheries resources, the economic situation of the local fishermen is worsening every year. According to the mayor of Pucusana, only about 5 % of the towns citizens are able to pay their taxes. Therefore the community lacks basic finance in order to implement a proper waste collection system.

The most critical area in Pucusana was the southern part of the town. Here poor people have invaded land on a slope and constructed without urban planning being involved. Therefore no roads are leading up to the small hill and waste trucks of the community can not access the area.

People would have to carry their garbage down the foot-paths and stairs in order to bring it to the nearest road. Because of lacking environmental and sanitary awareness, people however prefer to just throw their garbage down the coastal cliff on the other side of the hill into the ocean, resulting in an unmanaged garbage dump covering about one kilometer of the cliffs extension.

Being used at the same time as a public toilet for many of the poor people living in this part of the town and serving as a feeding ground for street dogs, this garbage dump not only contaminated the marine and coastal environment, but also was a serious risk to peoples health, by also being a breeding and feeding ground for rat and insect populations.


  1. Local coastal and marine contamination was effectively reduced and sanitary conditions were improved by completely cleaning up 15,000 m2 of an unmanaged garbage dump and recuperating the coastal cliff south of the fishing town of Pucusana. In total, 50,956 kilograms of garbage was collected and transported to the city’s official waste dump. In the neighborhood of the cliff, seven garbage containers have been implemented in order to avoid future contamination.
  2. The project was implemented in a participatory way and improved environmental awareness on the local level by:
    - actively involving 23 representatives of local citizen organizations.
    - realizing a door-to-door interview program in order to involve locals in educative talks about their household waste management reaching a total of 120 homes and talking to 213 people.
    - designing a manual on how to implement household composting units, as well as an information leaflet on paper recycling, being distributed to 50 local teachers and community leaders.
    - distributing more than 1,000 information leaflets about the clean-up activities to the local population.
    - implementing two workshops (Recycling of paper and composting) involving teachers and pupils of 14 local schools. These teachers will involve the contents of the workshops into their teaching program reaching out to a total of 1,578 students.
    Photo Gallery teachers workshop
    - implementation of composting units and a small gardening unit in two local schools (National school Number 6009 and number 6010), each of them attending around 400.
    - Implementation of two ecological demonstrations against garbage dumping with all students from both schools participating as well as a street clean-up with 95 pupils participating, collecting a total of 325 Kgs of garbage.

A total of more than 2,000 people (children and adults) of Pucusana were involved in the project.



The two schools, 6009 and 6010 in Pucusana have implemented a small school garden in order to continue the composting activities.



One of the unforeseen problems for the implementation of the project was the election period which hampered the official participation of the representatives of the municipality in the meetings with local stakeholders. Nevertheless, as permanent co-ordination with the municipality was established throughout the project and as the municipality took charge of the transport of the garbage to the official dumping site, this problem did not affect the project implementation.

As the granted amount was less than 50% of the original budget proposed, the compost-training activities could not be implemented at the level of private homes and earthworm boxes could not be distributed for demonstration. However due to very restricted spending and with the great support of the community, most of the originally proposed objectives have been reached.



The project “Coastal Waste Dump Recuperation and Organic Waste Recycling Initiative in the Peruvian Fishermen town of Pucusana, Peru”, has reached its objectives by cleaning up 15,000 m2 of coastal cliff, collecting more than 50 tons of garbage and reaching out to more than 2,000 people in Pucusana. The project counted with great support in the local population and with local institutions and stakeholders. Acording to our results, we believe that environmental awareness has been raised and that a new contamination of the cliff can be avoided.

We therefore would like to thank New England Biolabs Foundation for the important support in order to realize this project.


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