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HomeNewsCosta Rica's Southern Zone Airport Plan Faces Strong Opposition from Locals

Costa Rica’s Southern Zone Airport Plan Faces Strong Opposition from Locals

The airport in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica was announced by the current government as one of its major plans. However, a recent report by Mongabay News recounts how the locals are trying to stop it because of the damage it represents for them, their community, and the environment.

Community members have put up a fight, as they believe this new project will destroy their sacred land. It’s worth noting that the Diquís Delta area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to pre-Columbian artifacts.

The airport overlaps with the protected historical site and, according to the article, would leave approximately 350 families without a home. These people are facing eviction due to the government’s new airport plan.

Costa Rica’s tourism industry has been growing massively over the years. The nation’s popularity has spiked, and now millions of tourists wish to spend their time off in the land of ‘Pura Vida.’

Nonetheless, an intensive tourism model that focuses on large-scale visitation is destroying locals. The article stated that the tourism model the country is opting for is “appropriating Indigenous traditions to invisibilize the local and transform the landscape into Global North touristic areas.”

The Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands are another major concern for the population. This is one of the most important wetlands in the country, as it’s home to countless species of flora and fauna. Locals have voiced their rejection since 2010 when the first plans were set to build the airport.

Strong opposition and protests have been organized by those who call this important area home. Yet, last year, the government insisted on pursuing the construction of the airport. It’s worth noting that the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA) issued a negative environmental impact assessment, as there are risks to waterways and increased vulnerability to extreme events.

According to Mauricio Álvarez Mora, a geography professor at the University of Costa Rica, interviewed by Mongabay News, “The airport’s goal is to make tourism explode in the area, as the Guanacaste airport did.”

He believes authorities aren’t taking into account environmental criteria. While the government continues with its plans, the community is rallying to pursue legal action. The population wants to preserve the land, the nature, and doesn’t want the area to copy Guanacaste’s tourism model.

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