San Luis La Herradura, El Salvador, April 14 (IPS) – A group of coastal communities in El Salvador are betting on sustainable development as a form of life that does not overexploit natural resources that have been shrinking due to years of government neglect and a lack of environmental awareness, using tools ranging from stoves Environmental cooking to reforest mangroves.
“We have learned to live better with the environment, to use it but without diminishing it, especially the mangroves; without mangroves there would be no fish in the wetlands,” said Daniel Mercado, chair of the local development committee in San Luis La Herradura. IPS.
The coastal villages of these and other surrounding municipalities are located in the Estero de Jaltepeque, a complex ecosystem where a variety of animal and plant species live in mangrove forests, water bodies, and wetlands.
El Estero is a nature reserve covering 934 square kilometers of watershed in the coastal region of central La Paz, in this Central American country of 6.8 million people.
Around 600 families in these communities received support to promote a sustainable development model that has yielded good results. The investment of more than $ 400,000 came from the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Program.
Many of these people now use environmentally friendly stoves, such as rocket stoves: circular stoves require very little wood and produce very little smoke.
In addition, the firewood comes from live fences made from Gliricidia sepium trees, which provide firewood and thus protect the mangroves from people looking for fuel.
Complementary to the rocket stove is the so-called magic stove, which is a round box made of polystyrene, a material that retains heat.
Once the soup or stew is boiled on the stove, place the saucepan on a magic stove and cover, and the cooking is complete. This saves both wood and time, as people can do other chores in the meantime.
Solar-powered ovens have also been introduced, consisting of a box with a lid that acts as a mirror that directs sunlight inward, covered with metal sheets.
Other components of the project, which ended in 2018, include implementation of sustainable agriculture and fisheries.
The beneficiaries had to work in mangrove planting in order to receive support from the program. As a result, 500 hectares of mangroves have been preserved or restored and sustainable practices have been implemented on 300 hectares of marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
However, maintaining mangroves remains a challenge because people from other communities come to cut down trees, and government authorities do little to prevent this, Mercado said.
In any case, sustainable development can be savored in the food cooked on environmental stoves and in other initiatives being carried out along the Pacific coast of this small Central American nation, where awareness of the need for sustainable development is growing among the local population.
For more information, you can read this story: Recipes with a taste of sustainable development on the coast of El Salvador.
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