Plastic in Lake Titicaca: Tourism and Management of Non-Biodegradable Waste in the Andes

Jordi Gascón*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Plastic has invaded the rural Andean landscape in recent decades. Its increase is due to the emergence of new consumption patterns, the absence of adequate waste management systems, and the persistence of a logic that incorporates waste into nature—which was appropriate when waste was biodegradable. However, the rural indigenous population is aware of plastic’s polluting effects. Tourism, which transmits urban and Western perceptions of cleanliness, is one of the factors that have led to this view. Tourism spreads an ecological perception that supports the sustainability of natural resources. It also spreads a bucolic perception of the landscape. Sometimes, the two discourses complement each other, but they can also clash. From the discard studies paradigm, and based on the case of Amantaní Island (Lake Titicaca, Peruvian Andes), the article shows that tourist demand for a pristine landscape can drive practices that increase the environmental and health risks of plastic waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalWorldwide Waste
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Andes
  • Discard studies
  • Experiential tourism
  • Indigenous people
  • Plastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal


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