A scientific study was conducted in 2019 on the amount of waste per square meter in Aruba. This research, done in collaboration with Impact Blue Foundation, an organization that focuses on waste management, particularly the management of plastics, indicated that there are 2.52 pieces of waste per square meter in Aruba. This number is the highest compared to other islands that have done similar research. Aruba has more 'pieces of waste' per square meter than Antigua, Bonaire, and San Plas in Panama combined.
We have 100% access to waste collection services compared to other islands that may not always be able to offer this service. However, we can conclude that historically we never had effective waste management.
Since 2005, with the introduction of the "tipping fee" at the Parkietenbos, the number of "wild dumps" has increased enormously, according to the report of the "Cero Tolerancia" made in 2012 by the Department of Nature and Environment. This same report indicates that there have been 62 excavation sites since 2012 and 31 used as illegal dumping grounds.
What is striking is the fact that this concerns our norms and values. If we have more pieces of dirt per square meter compared to other islands in the Caribbean, that says a lot about our values as a community. Just throwing cans out of the car has almost become a habit for the community. The ironic thing about this is that we are polluting Aruba, the same Aruba that drives people's incomes. We are almost entirely economically dependent on tourism. What attracts millions of tourists to Aruba is our nature. However, our bad habits regarding waste wreak havoc here.
We must be accountable for the waste we produce ourselves. The neighbor's garbage is not ours, and ours is not the neighbor's. The responsibility lies with all of us who live in Aruba. On August 22, 2023, the campaign "Limpi Limpi" was launched to change the behavior of citizens regarding waste management and to keep Aruba clean.
This year, the government will conduct the scientific study again and compare the results with those of the 2019 study.