Cleaning Up Panama Bay A Daunting Task

Panama has not set up an effective sewage disposal program for their country. The large growth of population has led to issues with the sewage being dumped in local rivers and contaminating Panama Bay. The water in the bay has developed a putrid smell and became contaminated because of this. For almost a decade there have been clean up efforts in the bay and attempts at better waste processing systems.

Panama is the southernmost county located in Central America. It is famous for having the Panama Canal, which is a key shipping canal used to travel from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean. The country has seen its way through various military regimes, United States involvement in government, and have now settled into a government that is presently ran by President Ricardo Martinelli. The population has grown at a fast rate from 1.1 million people in 1960 to almost 3.4 million people in 2008.

With the large growth in population, the country did not set up a sewage treatment plant for any of their large cities. Instead, each city routed the sewage directly into the local rivers, which contaminated that river and the bay that it dumped into. With each large city doing this, it turned the countries natural waterworks into a bacteria filled mess that emitted strong odors as well.

The Panama City and Bay of Panama Cleanup Project has been implemented to try to fix this environmental and health problem that faces the country. This project has been partially funded by Latin America’s development bank, CAF. CAF is vested in the project that is helping clean the area around the bay, and developing and placing a waste water treatment plant in the area as well. Over $1 billion has been funded by CAF for the project in the last five years and in 2010 they have funded $540 million.

The Ministry of Health is executing the construction of the sanitary drain network, sanitary sewers, and the designing, planning, and construction of the of the water treatment plant. The sanitary drain network will be approximately 135 kilometers in length encompassing all the residential areas. The sewer system will include an interceptor tunnel that will be 3 meters in diameter and 8.2 kilometers long.

To assist in the drilling of this entire sewer network, the country purchased a tunnel boring machine from Herrenknecht in Schwanau, Germany. The large machine is 124 meters long and 3.6 meters in diameter. The machine, which arrived in the country in August, is painted the colors of the Panamanian flag and has been nicknamed Gloria after President Martinelli’s mother.

All the natural water ways in the country emit a strong odor. This bad stench, coupled with the large presence of bacteria, has deterred the residents from doing any sort of recreation in the water and has led to fishing being almost non-existent. Even though there are still fish inside the water they are often contaminated or sick. Previous generations could swim in rivers or the bay but no longer do because of the strong odor and contaminants in the water.

The natural cleansing of the environment will take another 10 or 15 years after this project is completed. A focus for the residents of Panama is to get an infrastructure that will halt the impact to the environment and their health. Once the project is completed there is hope that the people will, once again go swimming and fishing in the water in their country.

On your next holiday to Panama, you can enjoy stunning and breathtaking accommodations near the attractions and activities. Talking to experienced and knowledgeable professionals who know about Panama rentals will help you to find your holiday dream home easily!

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