Trio earns living recycling

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 16            May 1, 2003

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Marvia Tillett, Anthony Cigo and Julia Rivera

Several organizations claim to promote recycling in their efforts to "maintain a pristine environment." This week, The San Pedro Sun met a team of three Belizeans who diligently do their part to keep the island clean and earn a living at the same time.

    Anthony Cigo and his wife Julia Rivera work in partnership with Marvia Tillett every day scouring the San Pedro dump for glass bottles, plastic, aluminum and other salvageable materials. Although it is not a pretty job, the three seem satisfied with the work and are able to support their existence on the island.

    Dr. Wil Lala of Caribbean Villas alerted The San Pedro Sun to the trio's efforts. He commented, "I wish more people were this industrious. Look at what a good job they are doing for our environment."                

    The group was interviewed while loading approximately 200 bags of recycling onto Caribbean Depot's barge. Mr. Cigo revealed that this last haul was a result of the past five to six months' labors. He explained, "First we collect it, then we must wash it and package it for the trip." When enough material is accumulated, the trio loads it onto the barge for Belize City. There, the items are sold to a Mexican buyer who transports the load across the border to Mexico for recycling. Anthony and his wife Julia then travel to "pay bills," making payments on their homestead in Orange Walk.

    Mr. Cigo stated they have been doing this type of work for the past 25 years, and he (along with the women) is very fit as a result. "We split the work up, then we divide the bags - Marvia takes her part, and the wife and I take the other," stated Anthony.

    Thanks to the hard work of this environmentally correct cleanup crew, and the San Pedro Town sanitation engineers, Ambergris Caye is a healthier, more beautiful place to live. This was confirmed only last year when the Minister of Local Government visited the caye and commented that island's dump was "one of the cleanest in Belize." We can only hope that others learn by example.



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