Food Sources and Accessibility and Waste Disposal Patterns across an Urban Tropical Watershed: Implications for the Flow of Materials and Energy

dc.contributor.authorGarcia-Montiel, Diana C.
dc.contributor.authorVerdejo-Ortiz, Julio C.
dc.contributor.authorSantiago-Bartolomei, Raul
dc.contributor.authorVila-Ruiz, Christina P.
dc.contributor.authorSantiago, Luis
dc.contributor.authorMelendez-Ackerman, Elvia
dc.coverage.countryPuerto Ricoen_US
dc.coverage.regionCentral America & Caribbeanen_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-04-23T14:02:25Z
dc.date.available2014-04-23T14:02:25Z
dc.date.issued2014en_US
dc.description.abstract"Appraising the social-ecological processes influencing the inflow, transformation, and storage of materials and energy in urban ecosystems requires scientific attention. This appraisal can provide an important tool for assessing the sustainability of cities. Socioeconomic activities are mostly responsible for these fluxes, which are well manifested in the household unit. Human behavior associated with cultural traditions, belief systems, knowledge, and lifestyles are important drivers controlling the transfer of materials throughout the urban environment. Within this context, we explored three aspects of household consumption and waste disposal activities along the Río Piedras Watershed in the San Juan metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. These included: the source of food consumed by residents, recycling activities, and trends in connection to the municipality’s sewerage system. We randomly interviewed 440 households at 6 sites along the watershed. We also conducted analysis to estimate accessibility to commercial food services for residents in the study areas. Our surveys revealed that nearly all interviewed households (~97%) consumed products from supermarkets. In neighborhoods of the upper portion of the watershed, where residential density is low with large areas of vegetative cover, more than 60% of residents consumed food items cultivated in their yards. Less than 36% of residents in the in densely urbanized parts of the lower portion of the watershed consumed items from their yards. Accessibility to commercial stores for food consumption contrasted among study sites. Recycling activities were mostly carried out by residents in the lower portion of the watershed, with better access to recycling programs provided by the municipality. The surveys also revealed that only 4 to 17% of residences in the upper watershed are connected to the sewerage system whereas the large majority uses septic tanks for septic water disposal. For these residents wastewater from house maintenance is disposed of directly into the environment. In the lower portion of the watershed all residents were connected to the sewerage system. Our study suggests there is a need to understand human behavioral attitudes in the acquirement and processing of resources, as a tool to generate informed-based strategies promoting sustainable consumption and disposal patterns."en_US
dc.identifier.citationjournalEcology and Societyen_US
dc.identifier.citationmonthMarchen_US
dc.identifier.citationnumber1en_US
dc.identifier.citationvolume19en_US
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10535/9345
dc.languageEnglishen_US
dc.subjectsocial-ecological systemsen_US
dc.subjectwatershedsen_US
dc.subjecthouseholdsen_US
dc.subjecturban commonsen_US
dc.subject.sectorUrban Commonsen_US
dc.subject.sectorWater Resource & Irrigationen_US
dc.titleFood Sources and Accessibility and Waste Disposal Patterns across an Urban Tropical Watershed: Implications for the Flow of Materials and Energyen_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen_US
dc.type.methodologyCase Studyen_US
dc.type.publishedpublisheden_US
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