Cleaning Up in Cuba

Even small projects targeting local communities can make a difference. At the Isleta Sur community in Cuba, a nearby waste dump was receiving an average of 150 tons of solid waste daily, which was burned without any safeguards. Open burning of organic waste is an important source of dioxins and furans formation and release in developing countries. According to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, this burning accounted for 6 percent of the dioxins and furans emissions into the atmosphere, which can greatly impact the health of local communities throughout the province.

The Centro Ecológico de Procesamiento de Residuos Urbanos initiated a project to separate wastes and find economic uses, including the composting of organic matter. The result was improved quality of life for nearly 566 community members. The project won the nomination of a United Nations Development Programme Administrator Award for Innovation and Creativity in 2006, and was later featured in the international media outlet CNN. The project is now being replicated in Jamaica.