Spain presented Tuesday to the city government of Managua the sealing off of the biggest garbage dump in Latin America, the flagship project of Spanish aid to Nicaragua.

The La Chureca project included not only sealing the previously open-air dump, but also the construction of a recycling plant where the trash collectors work, as well as homes and a school for the more than 250 families who inhabit the area.

The presentation ceremony was presided by the director of Spain's AECID aid agency, Juan Lopez-Doriga.

"This is the largest project we have done in Nicaragua. We have invested, between the agency itself and the community of Andalusia, some 40 million euros ($53.2 million)," Lopez-Doriga told reporters.

The project consisted of ridding Nicaragua of its biggest uncovered, open-air garbage dump, and building a modern recycling plant for solid refuse, which began operating partially at the end of last year.

La Chureca is now a sanitary landfill, which means that while it continues to receive solid refuse, it no longer remains exposed to the air, and no longer do poor people seek their sustenance among the garbage.

Now the Churequeros, as the garbage collectors are known in Nicaragua, work in the modern plant for treating solid waste.

"We rejoice to have been able to contribute to transforming the situation so completely. This takes a lot of work, not just cooperation," said Lopez-Doriga.

La Chureca was one of the main sources of the pollution in Lake Managua. EFE