Where there’s muck, there’s brass


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Within the limits of the parish of Santa Ana, we find one of the country’s most special municipal dumps. It’s called Pichacay. You may wonder why such a place is mentioned in a travel magazine that encou- rages exploration and discovery. What could we possibly find in garbage? Something more than the city’s junk, in this case, since Pichacay produces two megawatts of electricity generated by the decom- position of methane, which in turn is transformed into biogas. It’s the kind of thing certainly worth knowing about in this age of environmental awareness.

It could be the country’s “cleanest” dump. And it could even catch your attention. It must be Ecuador’s “cleanest” dump. Reason enough, perhaps, to visit, to learn about biogas and methane. What’s the fuss all about? Perhaps it could become one of the first dumps to receive a curious visitor…

In fact, the small community of Santa Ana, a short distance from Pichacay, has not been affected by
its proximity to the landfill. Its population enjoys a peaceful rural life, dominated by intense greens
and fertile soil.

Cholas till the fields as they have tradi- tionally done for centuries, without the need of migrating to the city, much less losing their identity. This hard-working farm woman is in fact highly respected and encouraged in her livelihood, even at a governmental level, and deemed a central and necessary ingredient for the development of the city. Not only does this town represent a traditional reality,
or a present nurtured by heritage, but the future of
the entire city of Cuenca. It is in the hopes that Santa
Ana remains population centers, with people happy
to be where they are, and who generate sustainable practices as well, what makes Santa Ana a special
suburb, indeed.

Photo: Yolanda Escobar.

A few miles away, there are beautiful
views from Mama Tepal viewpoint, or the beaches of 5135 El Chorro, an absolute counterpoint to Pichacay, which provides recreation and entertainment within walking distance from the landfill. If seeing is believing, it certainly is worth the visit.

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