Costa Rica News – Costa Rica will tackle climate change with a new experiment that recycles electrical waste to spur reproduction of its coral reefs and fish populations.
Popular with tourists for its tropical marine diversity, Costa Rica has been rapidly losing its coral reefs: coral that covered 90 percent of reefs in Guanacaste 30 years ago now cover less than five percent. The ocean’s warming and deteriorating water quality has also threatened its fish and fishing industry.
Environmentalists have made similar efforts to rescue the coral by using sinking tires, cement and PVC pipes to form artificial reefers, but this project is the first of its kind to be government-initiated and funded.
Divers will attach structures of porcelain electrical insulators, which are abundant at power plants and on the electrical grid but have no way to be recycled or disposed, to the bottom of the sea. The first structure will be sunk at Playa Hermosa beach in Guanacaste and will be about 19 feet long, or about half the length of a bus.
Scientists will monitor the cylinders for six months to see if it spurs coral growth. Corals grow by about half an inch a year, according to Nidia Novoa, a marine biologist at the National University of Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute prepared the project over the last two years and says it is confident the insulators will not pollute the water.