Education campaign to clean up Chile’s World Heritage city

Short cartoons and street theater aim to make reforestation and trash collection cool and instill a culture of environmental responsibility in the historic port.  

Chile’s Valparaíso is one of the most historic ports in Latin America and one of the most beautiful cities anywhere in the world.

But one of the aspects that makes Valparaíso so unique also contributes to its one major eyesore: trash. The narrow, cobblestone streets that wind their way through the city’s famous hills make access by garbage trucks almost impossible in some areas, leading to a slew of informal trash dumps in local ravines and gullies, of which Valparaíso has more than its fair share.

Now, local citizens are taking the messy matter into their own hands, with help from Chile’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) and the Valparaíso Regional Ministry of Environment. The environmental education campaign, called Valparaíso Limpio (“Clean Valparaíso”), aims to break this decades-old habit and encourage local porteños to clean up their own neighborhoods.

Keeping Valparaíso Clean
It was thanks to grassroots activism that the United Nation’s cultural body, UNESCO, declared the city a World Heritage Site in 2003, and local initiative has been driving the city’s revival since then.

So far, the focus of locally-run efforts has been to restore historic plazas, houses, churches and monuments.

So it’s no surprise that Valparaíso Limpio is trying to tap into the resourcefulness and public spirit of the people who made the city the “jewel of the Pacific” and one of the cultural hubs of Latin America.

Using street theater and short, animated movies, the campaign aims to engage Valparaíso’s children and instill in them a sense of environmental responsibility, while CONAF begins reforesting these former trash dumps into stripes of green for the colorful port city.

For more information check out the Valparaíso Limpio on Facebook (in Spanish).