Almost nine thousand kilos worth of collaboration
Tecpetrol joined in with the activities designed to make September the cleanest month of the year from all its operations, each with its own particular focus. Here’s the lowdown of the initiatives.
The starting point was global, as September, like every year, is Cleanup Month, an initiative organized by the not-for-profit, non-government organization Clean Up the World. Stephen Wharton, Sr. Environmental Manager, who led the project from the Health, Safety, and Environment area says: "We are institutionally committed to this campaign throughout all Tecpetrol operations, from El Tordillo, in the south of Argentina, to Pesquería, in Mexico.”
September was a balmy and mild month at all the company’s operations, an opportunity to make the most of both the cool spring in the south and the end of summer in central and northern America. With a big smile, Stephen explains that, “Cleanup Month has become an institution: it began as a one-off initiative in Neuquén and has since spread to the rest of our operations.” It’s an idea that has really caught on, enhanced by the novelty that each of the areas contributes and the ways they find to diversify the challenge with novel approaches.
For example in Aguaragüe, Salta, Health, Safety & Environment Manager Miguel Iriarte’s team, did something disruptive: they took advantage of a family hiking activity on the Virgen de la Peña Shrine trail in the Yariguarenda community to pick up litter on this popular path. Seventeen people participated in a series of recreational and survival activities during the day, amassing several bags of garbage in the process.
Meanwhile in Colombia, there was a competition (a healthy one, of course!) to see who could collect the most plastic bottles to be delivered to the Bottles of Love foundation. In Bogotá, the team clubbed together to collect as many kilos of plastic packaging as possible, with stellar performances from Daniela Pineda, Elizabeth Corner, Julieth Salcedo and Lilibeth Sanchez. The CORE (Community Relations) team from Tecpetrol's CPF also joined in the contest together with a group of contractors, while in Pendare, the group took an original approach to recycling by making eco-bricks in their houses.
Andrea Monroy, Health, Safety & Environment Analyst in Quito, took part alongside her colleagues from the administrative offices. She highlights the support of Francisco Do Pico, the Country Director, who encouraged them to participate during working hours. “We went to a very busy public park in Quito, under which runs an aquifer. We collected lots of litter that wasn’t immediately visible." She adds that in Campo Libertador, they organized a litter pick in the camp and in the areas around the river.
The campaign at the Pesquería Power Plant was carried out according to the successful Japanese 5S methodology for cleaning and organizing a workplace: the basic premises are to only have what is necessary, ensure everything is where it belongs and is properly labelled, and always strive for continuous improvement.
The 45 people who signed up for the campaign using this method managed to collect a considerable amount of hazardous waste and almost six thousand kilos of municipal solid waste. Meanwhile, at the Reynosa operation, 90 members of the team took part in a general litter picking operation.
Stephen explains that- “In Neuquén, we fused three campaigns into one: Fortín de Piedra, Agua Salada and Los Bastos. In Fortín, for example, we stepped up our eco tours initiative, which is where a team goes out to tour the terrain surrounding the rigs and pick up any garbage which has been picked up and blown there by the wind.”]
The overall sense of achievement is growing every year in tandem with the initiative itself. “So, with each edition, more people are joining in. Everyone knows that this month is already on the agenda—and there’s a key detail: the support provided by management at all levels, whether it’s about providing the conditions or directly joining in the activity itself.”