Earth Links, Inc. is proud to support Azulita, a locally run community organization based in the pueblo of Los Llanos, Guerrero, Mexico, 39 km north of Zihuatanejo.  Azulita focuses on promoting environmental conservation and community health through youth programs and sustainable organic farming education at the Azulita School, among many other projects.

Azulita’s great strength is the way it combines education, activism, and youth sports programs: in Los Llanos, people have historically burned their trash – before Azulita, there was little-to-no recycling. Azulita teaches the kids about how toxic burning plastic trash is and how simple it is to gather all those plastic bottles for recycling, which Azulita then takes to the nearest recycling center in Ixtapa.

Erwing Rodriguez Ibarra hands out awards at a soccer match. June, 2011.

In Azulita’s afterschool programs, kids collect plastic bottles that would otherwise be burned or wash into the ocean (Los Llanos is near the Gulf of California coast). Azulita’s website tells the story:

Our strongest response has been from the local youth who wanted to form a soccer team. They began a weekly community clean up and have picked up well over 200 bags of plastic in the last 6 months. In return, our project collected donations to provide the funds for their uniforms and league dues. Under the leadership of Erwing Rodriquez Ibarra, the kids remain committed to the project and participate in weekly cleanups.

Erwing and the kids began making recycling containers out of used plastic bottles. The design modeled others that Pato had seen in Guadalajara, Mexico. We continue to make these containers and share them with neighboring communities.

In support of the Los Llanos kids soccer team casino online real money (and Azulita’s recycling program), Earth Links has collected donations of soccer shoes in kids sizes (volunteer travelers Lisa and Mike Decorte will deliver them to Los Llanos in July 2011).

The Tecuanes (Jaguars) of Los Llanos. June, 2011.

Azulita and the kids are expanding the recycling education project to six nearby small towns, each of which will have a kids soccer team, forming a league. As part of this goal, Azulita would like to get their own plastic compactor/baler, which would both increase the amount of recycled material that could be stored, make it cheaper to transport to the recycling center, and increase the amount of money received. Again, Azulita’s website explains the problem:

The most challenging part of rural recycling is temporary storage of the collected plastic and a reliable source to transport it to the recycling facility. We need a motivated individual willing to approach the distributers themselves to see if they could help with a deposit incentive or a collection program. Currently in Mexico, the recycling plants are subsidized by Coca Cola® and they pay ~1peso/kilo for recyclable plastic. Without a plastic press, usually the cost of gas, trash bags and the use of a truck are equal to the payback for the plastic. Therefore, this project has to be subsidized by donations.

Azulita will continue working on expanding their recycling program and welcomes ideas and donations from their local community and from well-wishers in other countries.