The central government plans what is being called a marathon of ideas as part of its social challenge contest.
The event is Wednesday at the Universidad Veritas, just a few days before submission of proposals for the contest closes.
The central government has designated four problems for which it says it seeks solutions. The four areas are handling of solid waste, access to education, obesity and traffic accidents.
There’s a good bet that the solutions selected will be ones that create more laws or amplify existing laws.
So A.M. Costa Rica staffers took a shot at these problems, but the answers probably are not what the government wants to hear.
Solid waste can easily be handled by modern incinerators that generate electrical power at the same time. More than half of the garbage produced by homes is biodegradable, says the government, giving a hint at the winning solution.
The real problem is that there has been strong opposition by the environmentalist lobby against municipalities seeking to install incinerators.
Access to education as a challenge suggests that everyone should go to university. The government says only 46.3 percent of youngsters between 17 and 21 years complete secondary school and only 34.2 percent of young people between 18 and 24 years go to university.
Perhaps the Ministerio de Educación Pública should bring back the truant officer and big, burly men to have chats with parents.
Obesity is an easy problem to solve. The government reports that 60 percent of adult Costa Ricans are obese and this costs the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social a lot of money each year. That’s like saying 60 percent of the people are above average height. Clearly they just need to move the fat scale up a few notches.
Finally, the government is concerned about traffic accidents. Of course officials are because motorcycle drivers kill themselves two or three at a time on weekends. Eliminate the motorcycles and a good part of the problem will go away.
But one has to be careful what is wished.
University of Washington researchers are now proposing that cougars be reintroduced into the eastern United States to trim the deer herd. Virginia whitetails jumping across the road are a major reason for vehicle crashes there. The researchers said that large cats could thin the deer population by 22 percent and prevent fatalities, hundred of injuries and million in property damage. Unfortunately sometimes older mountain lions also reduce the human population.
That might work with obesity and motorcycle drivers, too.
Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría is in charge of the challenge contest. Much more serious and well-thought-out ideas can be found on the challenge Web site HERE!