Trash and Garbage continue to be blight on Panama


Various stores, inns, informal stalls and other types of shops mark the route that begins in the 5 de Mayo square and ends in the Santa Ana park.Between Avenida B and the popular street known as Salsipuedes (13th Street), is La Peatonal de la Avenida Central, which since its creation has been characterized as one of the commercial pillars as well as an urban axis of Panama City that It also stands out as one of the busiest streets for tourists and foreigners due to its proximity to the Old Town.Alexander is one of them. Although he no longer considers himself a foreigner, because he has been living in Panama for more than 17 years, he still walks the avenue daily with his cane as when he first arrived in the country. He tells La Estrella de Panamá that he usually walks to the Santa Ana park at mid-morning, to “get fresh” for a while after doing his errands, however, it is impossible for him not to notice the neglect that exists in La Peatonal .

“Since I arrived in Panama [I noticed that] they threw the garbage on the street and nobody took responsibility for it. The smell was horrible and at the time of collection, the cars blocked the way,” the man of Colombian origin commented to this outlet.
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
According to area merchants, the area’s health needs to improve. Larish July | The Star of Panama
As he comments, in recent years the sanitation situation has improved a bit in La Peatonal, but it still has “tons and tons” of garbage due to the number of people who visit it daily.

What Alejandro is not wrong about is that the aesthetics and care of this city transit point have improved a bit. The avenue was redesigned in 2018 for better traffic, and now has a floor made of cement blocks as well as large planters that are located in the middle of the streets for an ornamental touch.But all this effort was in vain because the surrounding streets and sidewalks of La Peatonal still look the same today: rubble everywhere from buildings that can barely stand and garbage bags that impede the passage or waste scattered in the sidewalks. Sewage leaks into the main street, carrying garbage with it, and according to the vendors in the area, no one is doing anything to solve these problems.Concrete actions?
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
Good collection is essential to avoid the accumulation of garbage on the road. Larish July | The Star of Panama
The general secretary of the Urban and Home Cleaning Authority (AAUD), Carlos Ábrego Escala, highlighted in a conversation with La Estrella de Panamá that everything lies in the way in which merchants and passers-by manage their own waste.According to Ábrego, informal vendors and business owners irresponsibly place their waste or bags with business waste on the avenue, harming others and hindering the work of the AAUD.
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
Citizen cooperation is also important in removing waste accumulation. Larish July | The Star of Panama
“This is a call to civil conscience on the part of the owners of the premises, on the part of the people who exercise informal sales and anyone who carried out any economic activity within the La Peatonal area: the first thing we tell you is that you You have to be responsible for how you dispose of your waste because what we do not want, just like anyone else in the community, is that we turn an important tourist attraction that the city has into a garbage dump due to the lack of culture and awareness of the people, who voluntarily throw this waste on the pedestrian avenue”, said the general secretary.The AAUD makes two daily trips to collect garbage and clean the streets of La Peatonal. Periodic inspections are also carried out with the preparation of reports to take action on the problem.These cases are sent to the Cleanliness Court where the corresponding hearings are held and sanctions are imposed on those responsible ranging from fines of $25 to $10,000, but is it really working?The general secretary of the AAUD mentioned to this medium that despite the improvements that have been made in terms of the sanitation of La Peatonal, the organization still does not have enough strength for comprehensive surveillance of the area that allows the problem to be completely eradicated. .
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
The Sanitation Authority hopes to improve the waste management of the Pedestrian in the future. Larish July | The Star of Panama
This is also perceived by Laura, who since last year has been selling tickets at La Peatonal. She believes that the personnel in charge of sanitation and inspection should be more energetic when penalizing establishments that contaminate the main road.According to the middle-aged woman, who is directly affected by the garbage on the avenue since that is her workplace, the cleaning does not meet its objective and leaves the streets in worse condition. “It’s horrible, they come with hoses to wash the streets but they leave them worse than they were; They don’t collect rubble from the sidewalks either, but they want you to work there, ”she told this medium while she was selling the tickets.Despite this, the general secretary of the AAUD comments that the entity continues to make the necessary measurements, which include schedule stipulations and the number of personnel in charge of cleaning, to carry out sanitation adequately, however, he points out that there are also unforeseen events such as damage to collection vehicles, private cars that impede the passage of truck personnel or the intervention of homeless people in the garbage, which sometimes prevents the work from being carried out.“The Urban and Home Cleaning Authority would like to move towards a more orderly [collection] system where vehicles make the routes and people do not take out their waste until the next trip. That’s what we do in Casco Antiguo, where we eliminated a significant number of waste receptacles, preventing businesses and residents from placing trash bags anywhere. This is one of the things we aspire to in the pedestrian street, ”he told La Estrella de Panamá.“The Urban and Home Cleaning Authority would like to move towards a more orderly [collection] system, where we eliminate a significant number of garbage cans, which prevents the possibility that businesses and residents will place garbage bags anywhere”
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
Dirty water and bad odors are also part of the complaints of pedestrians passing by. Larish July | The Star of Panama
TeamworkThe conservation of the streets that make up La Peatonal is essential due to its tourist and economic importance.“The Urban and Home Cleaning Authority tries to keep an eye on the news or when citizen reports are received and inspect to see what is happening. For this type of situation, you have to do the research and file the corresponding reports. We try to provide supervision as far as our resources can reach,” said Ábrego.He also requested the support of the authorities of other organizations, such as the National Police, which has the power to draw attention to any citizen who is misusing waste.
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
The rubble of the old buildings impedes the passage and forms part of the unmanaged waste in the Pedestrian. Larish July | The Star of Panama
At the same time, a call was made to the public to keep the different areas of La Peatonal clean as a civic action, advocating for the dignity of the people who transit the area on a daily basis.For this, a good culture of urban cleanliness is necessary for the population to avoid issues such as poorly positioned garbage that can bring bad odors, vermin, among other consequences.Informal sellers play an important role, since they are the only ones who do not have designated spaces for handling their own waste or, on many occasions, are not aware of their own contamination because buyers are responsible for handling the remains of what They buy from independent merchants.”Let’s have that culture of taking responsibility for our own waste, just as I have every right to go earn a living honestly, I also have obligations and part of those obligations is to leave my work area clean,” concluded Ábrego.
Mismanagement of waste: abandonment in La Peatonal
The merchants believe that it is necessary for the Cleaning Authority to take better actions in terms of cleaning the Pedestrian. Larish July | The Star of Panama
The improvement of the sanitation of the avenue is a joint effort between the population and the authorities in charge of maintaining La Peatonal in optimal conditions for its visitors. However, until an agreement is reached between all parties, no one will be able to travel on a cleaner pedestrian avenue.
Related topics:
Panama Old Town
AAUD: Urban and Home Cleaning Authority

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