Tourism and poor environmental conservation practices led one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites to suffer from too much waste. However, it seems good news is eventually taking place as Machu Picchu finds salvation, thanks to recycling.
Just last weeks, residents, officials, and companies Inkaterra and Grupo Aje joined hands and inaugurated an organic waste-processing plant which aims to process over eight tons of waste per day. The massive waste, which is mainly derived from tourism, will be converted into bio-coal, a powerful fertilizer which will then be used for a reforestation project in the park where the Incan citadel rests.
So far, there have been three waste-processing plants in the area, with this one the most recent.
One plant focuses on processing oil from more than 200 hotels and restaurants near Machu Picchu, converting it into glycerin and biodiesel. The other plant focuses on compacting the tons of plastic waste which are thrown by more than 4,000 visitors every single day.
If this continues, then the Machu Picchu town will become the first Latin American community to practice recycling 100% of its solid waste and converting it into a useful resource. This could also mean that the community will become a model of a sustainable city, said Jorge Lopez-Doriga, the communications director of Grupo Aje.
The project was set into motion following UNESCO’s warning that they might remove Machu Picchu as a World Heritage Site due to poor waste handling practices. Liza Masias, marketing chief of Inkaterra, stated that something should be done to avoid such thing from happening, and it has to be done quickly.
The environmental issues currently faced by Machu Picchu are indeed large, considering that it’s located in a remote location which can only be accessed by rail. If left unsolved, it could cripple the Peruvian economy, considering that the country is hugely reliant on the income the citadel generates from tourism.