The majority of the food consumed is sourced from the chagras surrounding the pueblo, so there is limited amount of waste food packaging etc. Food waste is composted by some families, although there is not full uptake throughout the village. Other combustible wastes are typically burnt in the cooking stoves. Other wastes generated typically include plastics and metal food cans. Although very small amounts of these wastes were observed during our time in the pueblo given the lack of waste storage facilities these wastes are reportedly dumped in the Amazon River.
Suggested next steps – improving waste management in the pueblo will be primarily driven by behavioural change by the villagers rather than provision of additional facilities (storage facilities to segregate and store wastes in the pueblo could very simply and cheaply be constructed, if there is the desire to do so). Construction of these facilities however does not however address the underlying issue of why the villagers currently dump wastes in the river, rather than making an effort to treat it in a more ecological manner.
A longer term solution may be reached by investigating waste management solutions employed by other villages in the Amazon region. Puerto Nariño (approx. 20km upstream from La Libertad) enjoys a reputation as a model "sustainable" village, partly due to its waste management practices (waste recycling, segregation and composting). Limited information is available online regarding these practices, so it is recommended that when a volunteer is available, a visit is made to Puerto Nariño to research the waste management practices. The key points to investigate are (1) which wastes are recycled, and how is this undertaken; (2) to what extent are wastes stored / treated / recycled onsite, or are wastes removed from the village; (3) whether any wastes have value, allowing them to be sold; (4) to what extent would the Puerto Nariño practices be transferable to La Libertad; and (5) if so, what additional facilities and organisation would be required to realise this.