Osa Vive - Help to protect our beautiful Costa Ballena
AUTHOR: Osa Vive Team
The Costa Ballena is a stunning part of Costa Rica. We are so lucky to be surrounded by wildlife and gorgeous forests.
But not everyone cherishes what we have here. Some developers (large and small) damage the environment and ignore Costa Rica’s environmental laws. Those laws protect trees above a specific size, prohibit burning, and ensure that earth moving occurs on a reasonable scale and that moved earth is handled with care rather than pushed into local rivers, which harms the freshwater ecosystem and marine life. Some developers (and others) find these laws inconvenient or expensive and so choose to ignore them, hoping they won’t get caught.
Osa Vive! is a local environmental group that demands that developers respect Costa Rica’s environmental laws. We file lawsuits, make reports of environmental damage, and raise awareness. Osa Vive! is trying to create a culture where all of us in Costa Ballena expect environmental laws to be followed.
We believe that if the entire community adopts the motto, “If you see something, say something,” developers in Costa Ballena will learn that they are expected to adhere to the law and will be held to account when they do not. Furthermore, we educate the community on how to take action when we see or hear environmental damage.
What can one person do to protect Costa Ballena?
There are several ways to report environmental damage, but one easy way is to call 911.
Calling 911 may seem strange to those of us from other countries where 911 is only for life-threatening emergencies (heart attacks, house fires, etc). Here in Costa Rica, 911 operators are trained to deal with life-threatening emergencies, and they have also been trained to receive reports of environmental damage. The operator (you can ask for an English-speaking operator) will ask for your name, location, and a description of the damage. They will confidently hold your name, so it is an anonymous report.
You do not need to be an expert in environmental laws to make a report. The culture here is such that if someone is concerned, then they should make a report. Creating a report is not an accusation; it simply says,” I am concerned. Can someone please come out and have a look?” Then it is up to the officers that visit the scene to determine whether things are being done properly or not.
If the damage is in progress, please call 911. 911 must follow up on all calls and send someone out to inspect the scene. If damage is not in progress, we recommend other ways of reporting damage (call 1192 or file a report online at http://www.sitada.go.cr/denunciaspublico/ingreso_denuncias.aspx). This can be a challenge for folks who do not speak Spanish.
Your community will thank you, and so will Costa Rica, whose natural beauty you are trying to preserve and whose laws you demand to be respected.
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