Peruvian solid waste NGO wins Energy Globe award

A Peruvian environmental organization was awarded the prestigious Energy Globe award during a ceremony hosted by the European Parliament for its work promoting sustainable solid waste management programs in Peru and five other Latin American countries.

The non-profit Peruvian Ciudad Saludable, or “Healthy City” was recognized Monday for its enterprise-driven model promoting the establishment and operation of community-organized collection, recycling and disposal projects that generate employment in 43 Peruvian cities and five other Latin American countries, including Mexico and Venezuela.

The Lima-based NGO also coordinates public education campaigns and teaches communities to combat illegal dumping and farmers how to compost and recycle organic waste.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to prove that Peru is part of the first world in commitment to the environment,” said Albina Ruiz, Healthy City’s Executive Director. “And it is even better now that the Environment Ministry has been created.”

Peru President Alan Garcia created the Environment Ministry by legislative decree earlier this month, as European and Latin American ministers and dignitaries gathered for a summit that dealt closely with climate change. Antonio Brack, a celebrated Peruvian environmentalist, was appointed environment minister and received Garcia’s backing “to do what must be done in defense of the environment.”

Healthy Cities was selected from a pool of 853 entries submitted from 109 different countries by a panel including representatives from the United Nations, UNIDO, the World Bank and the European Renewable Energy Council. Finalists were selected by the international Energy Globe Jury chaired by Maneka Gandhi, India’s former environment minister.

“The prize motivates us to keep on going. It’s everyone’s prize. It belongs to the institutions, the municipalities, the citizens and the enterprises that decided to dedicate themselves to recycling. Awareness about the issue is growing. We now see supermarkets that are interested in managing recyclable products. Governments and city councils are also putting forward initiatives,” said José Carlos Rodríguez, Healthy City’s president.

But, he added, “An NGO is not an organization that reaches out to the entire country. Rather, it manages smaller scale projects that have an impact, systematizes and proposes national policies. We hope for dialog with the Environment Minister. He promised to work on the issue with open doors.”

Prizes are awarded in the categories of Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth to projects dedicated to energy conservation, environmental protection, or the supply of basic resources such as water to remote and impoverished areas.

The Air prize was awarded to an Austrian CO2-free transport project, the Water prize to a sustainable water initiative from Mozambique, the Fire prize to a Spanish solar power plant and the Youth prize to South Africa’s Young People against Climate Change.

During the ceremony, which including appearances by Maneka Gandhi, Hans-Gert Pöttering and Kofi Annan, a special award went to Mikhail Gorbachev in recognition of his work with the Green Cross Foundation.

The World Awards for Sustainability, or International Energy Globe Awardswere created by Austrian engineer and environmentalist Wolfgang Neumann in 1999. As one of the presidents of the Energy Globe Foundation, he continues to organize the event today.

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