May 14, 2012 • By

Riverside cleanup in a beautiful area

A nature preserve near downtown Buenos Aires is much cleaner now, thanks to the work of 27 General Mills Argentina employees who collected 72 large bags of trash during our annual “Think Global, Volunteer Local” campaign last month.

Río de la Plata in Argentina’s Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur was the destination of the riverside cleanup because it’s centrally located between General Mills’ two plants in San Fernando and Burzaco.

It’s very surprising to see how every little piece of paper, plastic bottle and other debris ends up in the river. All of our General Mills volunteers were energized to help clean up the riverside.

“I feel so enriched being part of our local Corporate Social Responsibility team,” one fellow volunteer, Sandra Miño, safety coordinator at the Burzaco plant, told me. “It’s a side of us that we cannot always show during the whirl of our workdays.”

Employee volunteers cleaning up along the Reserva Costanera Sur near Buenos Aires.

Another volunteer, Natalia Faiden, quality regulatory operations manager for the San Fernando and Burzaco plants, said, “The cleanup was a unique and gratifying experience that made me feel I can do something for our enormous and beautiful planet in return for all it gives us. That the company actively works with these values makes me feel proud to work at General Mills.”

Reserva Costanera Sur is an ecological reserve that is only five blocks from the Buenos Aires financial center and close to Puerto Madero, a district filled with skyscrapers and international hotels.

Originally, the area was little more than a low spot in a river bed that was filled in with rubble so the downtown Buenos Aires area could be extended. But the river flowed in between all the cracks in the debris and soon many plants, animals and birds arrived.

People started visiting the area to jog, watch birds and enjoy nature – so much so that it was declared a nature reserve. For me, this place is an example of how nature won a battle and how people realized it had to be respected.