SAN JOSE – The Costa Rican government will collect a tax this year from 388 companies that are polluting rivers around the country with wastewater and the funds will go to improving the water treatment system, the local press reported Tuesday.
The Environment Ministry intends to penalize those firms, homes or government institutions that dump sewage, soaps or other pollutants such as agricultural chemicals, solvents and untreated human waste into rivers.
The tax will vary according to the level of pollution, and it will be different for companies and homes, according to the daily La Nacion.
The Costa Rican government hopes to collect some $8 million by the end of the year by assessing the tax, funds that will be used to build sanitary sewage systems and to treat wastewater from firms and individual homes.
Ministry official Jose Miguel Zeledon said that the effort will benefit the municipalities that do not have an adequate system for disposing of liquid waste.
About 60 percent of the money collected will go toward improving the water system, 20 percent toward monitoring the points at which pollutants are being dumped, 15 percent toward promoting environment-friendly production systems and the remaining 5 percent toward environmental education.
Official figures indicate that in Costa Rica only 3 percent of the wastewater receives treatment to make it safe to dump into the environment. EFE