Caño Cristales or “the river of the five colors” is a Colombian river, highly visited by tourism, located at the municipality of La Macarena.

La Macarena Zero Waste was a project lead by Zero Waste Colombia Corporation, Frontera Travel (responsible tourism enterprise) and Nohora Díaz (waste management consultant), in which a diagnose of the tourism sector about the integrated municipal solid waste management was made and different alternatives of use for each type of residue were presented.

This Project was developed between August and October of 2015, and financial and logistic support was provided by the tourism sector from the region (Henry Quevedo and John Freddy Mora), the Autonomous Regional Corporation from La Macarena CORMACARENA and Parques Nacionales Naturales, public entity in charge of managing the system of national natural parks. Through the development of the project, an entire week’s field visit to the municipality was made with the purpose to identify the main local problems of the waste management system, waste generation and alternatives of use.

An identification of all the municipal actors involved was made in the mentioned field visit, along with an analysis of the relations and dynamics involved in the generation of solid wastes. Some of this identified actors included general population, hotel and commerce sectors, food businesses, transport organizations and recyclers. Besides, a tourism waste characterization was performed to identify the types of residue that are being generated within the tourism visits to Caño Cristales to evaluate use alternatives that avoid pollution by accumulation of this elements in the short, medium and long term.

As a result of this research a technical document was produced, in which a compilation of the different alternatives of use for each type of waste was included. This document was presented to the tourism sector table with the purpose to revise and evaluate the viability of implementing each one of the alternatives according to the sociocultural characteristics of the visitors and inhabitants of the municipality.

This study provides as result the need to implement strategic projects that promote waste’s alternatives of use to potentiate and reinforce development in the tourism municipalities of the country with the goal of achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability. The continuation of this project is expected in 2016, with the development of its second part, the construction of the municipality’s waste management policy (along with the identified actors) and the execution of it.


Zero Waste Colombia Corporation