Litter filled storm sewers
Litter filled storm sewers

QCOSTARICA – Leaving the political rhetoric aside, one of the main reasons the streets of San Jose every time there is a major rainfall – every day during the rainy season – and floods like that downtown San Jose last Friday, are due to culture.

The problem is not only in downtown San Jose, but many areas around the greater metropolitan area like Guadalupe, Tibas, San Pedro and many more.

Costa Ricans have the bad habit of littering.

And the evidence is clear to those who daily literally take broom to the streets of the capital city.

According to Cristian Vargas Calvo, Manager of Conservation of Roads and Bridges, “one must make a call to the population to avoid such situations, because this is a problem that affects the entire population not only in the sense of floods, but also in traffic congestion.”

Cleaning up the litter in San Jose
Cleaning up the litter in San Jose

At the Conavi (the national roads council), “they (people) are throwing too much garbage in the streets that is collapsing ditches and culverts, this is one of the reasons why the streets turn into rivers”.

Experts say the heat wave this rainy season has played an important part. Typically the flooding problems occur early on in the rainy seasons that starts the middle of May, but soon solved with the daily rains that literally flushes out the storm sewers into the rivers and creeks.

Given that this rainy season there has been less than average rain – days and weeks without any serious rain – the litter has been piling up instead of being washed away and thus getting flooding in the later part of the season.

The Conavi is cleaning some ditches and collecting litter in certain sectors, but it needs the help of the people, is the word from the roads council.

“You cannot blame only the infrastructure and the rain for the flooding, but the citizens themselves must reflect on their habits, because the weather is something one cannot control, but we can control the way we act,” says the Conavi in a statement.

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