The cesspit at the pig breeding farm Porcina Americana in Costa Rica polluted the air in the surrounding communities and contaminated the nearby river water. The farm was threatened with closure and over 100 employees faced the prospect of losing their jobs. But Héctor Alvarado Cantillo negotiated a solution: on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ supported the construction of a modern biogas plant that now uses farm waste to produce regenerative electric power for local communities.
Just imagine a massive cesspit. With our sub-tropical temperatures and heavy rainfall, all the waste that accumulates in it just festers and rots away. Do you know how badly that smells? It had a devastating impact on people’s lives in villages for miles around. The water in our river was contaminated and strange diseases were rife. At my daughter’s school, the pupils had to keep all the windows and doors closed in spite of the oppressive heat because they would not have been able to stand the smell otherwise. Now this is all contained in the biogas plant – which uses it to generate power for our lamps and fridges. It’s like a miracle.
I like working with pigs. They’ve got five senses too you know. But of course my work earns me the money I need to support myself and my family. If we had been forced to close the farm because of the pollution, the entire village would have been without work. The biogas plant has secured all our livelihoods.
I don’t think much of pubs or alcohol. I like to explore the hills for undiscovered water sources using my self-made divining rod. My neighbours are totally grateful to me.
My nearest and dearest of course, by which I mean my wife and children. But how are they supposed to live healthily and happily if the air they breathe and the water they drink are contaminated? That’s how, in recent years, I’ve come to realise how important environmental protection is in our times. I’d like this to be made clearer to the generations that follow ours.
I would continue to do what we’ve started and make it possible for the local inhabitants and company to co-exist peaceably.