Plastic wave horror film

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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These images are being shared in social media and making headlines in mainstream media. It could have a devastating effect on the tourism industry. Anyone who knows the DR will recognise the location: not tourist beaches as implied by some reports, but the Santo Domingo shoreline near the mouth of the Ozama River.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-44914919/wave-of-plastic-hits-dominican-republic

Following the recent storm (Beryl) the waste was swept down the river, which is lined with poor neighbourhoods with inadequate or nonexistent drainage and waste collection systems, and a culture where casual littering is still acceptable.

It's been several decades since city beaches like Montesinos and Guibia were regularly used by swimmers. Even so, the Malecon seafront boulevard of Santo Domingo is being promoted as a cultural tourist attraction along with the Colonial city, which is also near the river mouth. This is just round the corner from the cruise ship terminal (cruise ship tourism being one of the most polluting models of tourism, but that’s a separate issue).

Across all social classes, single-use plastic and Styrofoam is overused and discarded every day: bottles, cups, plates, cutlery, plastic bags, and takeaway food containers.

Over in the tourist areas obscene amounts of plastic waste are generated: thousands of plastic bottles and cups are used and discarded in the resorts every day. Although there are some honourable exceptions like the Grupo Puntacana initiatives where a good proportion of the waste generated is collected, separated and recycled, even when these plastic and foam items are disposed of systematically and responsibly, most still end up in landfill, open-air dumps, or floating in the sea.

The Ministry of Tourism with its stated goal of 10 million tourists must legislate and – more importantly - enforce new standards on plastics and waste management, and the tourist industry should take its own initiative to reduce single-use plastics to an absolute minimum in resorts, hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars.

A small restaurant in Santo Domingo, Para Te, is one example - from now on they will only serve drinking water in glasses and are offering a discount to takeaway customers who bring their own containers:
para te1.jpg para te2.jpg

More education and enforcement of penalties is needed to stop taxi and bus drivers from littering their rest areas-a common but shocking sight along the roads and highways-which discourages many visitors from ever wanting to return.
 

Marianopolita

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Maybe the media exposure will force the mayor of Santo Domingo and environmental officials to get on board and recognize the huge problem that lack of education of the populous and lack of provision of receptacles has caused over an extended period of time.

That amount of basura is a result of years of dumping of styrofoam containers and recyclable wastes into the river. One can’t blame this only on poor neighbourhoods. This is a community effort of dumping wastes. It is the mentality of lo echo al río. Did these people ever stop to think that once they toss their garbage where does it go and if a significant amount of people do the same what are the consequences.

It is all coming back to them and it should not have been dumped in the first place. BBC Mundo also has a very good article and video of Río Osama and the mess that has been washed up. It’s not only styrofoam and recyclable wastes but also clothes and dead animals as per the article.

The DR is so behind when it comes to trash and disposal of wastes. This is a country that likes to promote its beaches as it drives tourism dollars but has insufficient resources for trash removal and recycling campaigns for the population.

Recycling campaigns take years to become effective. They started seriously in the eighties in many developed nations and progressed very slowly. Now in the 21st in said countries the concept of recycling has become the norm. You have different types of recycling bins available in public places and people separate their trash accordingly for the most part. The DR has a huge task at hand and it’s not even starting with recycling. From what I have seen in SD, Puerto Plata and AZS the first step is telling people no botes tu basura. If they start with that simple concept then start the education about recycling and refraining from using styrofoam and other environmentally damaging products they may make slow progress.


-MP.
 

bob saunders

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https://issuu.com/jona1509/docs/revista_sobre_la_basura It takes enforcement, education, punishment for offenders, a massive cleanup project countrywide, a door-to-door campaign, and a lot more public garbage containers and garbage drop-off points that are cleaned daily. It is simply amazing that people that keep their bodies clean, their cars clean, and their houses clean will just sweep the garbage on the street into the storm sewers. A million plus extras from Haiti doesn't help either. A couple of co-generation plans would really help as well.
 

jd426

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y on FB.. everyone who knew I traveled to the DR, and who had never been there was asking " are ALL the beaches like this ? . " did you know about this " " have you seen this, is this anywhere near where you go" ? ....
It apparently went absolutely VIRAL on Facebook ..
this is NOT good For DR Tourism ... They need to clean this isht up, and pronto,, no matter what the cost ..
 

AlterEgo

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y on FB.. everyone who knew I traveled to the DR, and who had never been there was asking " are ALL the beaches like this ? . " did you know about this " " have you seen this, is this anywhere near where you go" ? ....
It apparently went absolutely VIRAL on Facebook ..
this is NOT good For DR Tourism ... They need to clean this isht up, and pronto,, no matter what the cost ..

Not good at all. I sympathize with Santo Domingo, because this garbage came to them from their neighbors up river, but it’s left to them to clean up. Hundreds (some reports said over a thousand) of city employees and volunteers are cleaning up the mess, it’s a daunting job.

For those who do not know, this is not the norm for that area. I can only imagine what potential tourists are thinking........
 

Marianopolita

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Here is a good article in LD today.


There is a law in place since 1999 established by ex president Fernández.

It is quite clear:


En República Dominicana está prohibido tirar basura en calles, aceras, contenes, parques, carreteras, caminos, balnearios, mares, ríos, cañadas, arroyos y canales de riego, playas, plazas y otros sitios de esparcimiento y demás lugares públicos.


La ley prohíbe a los a los propietarios e inquilinos de hogares y establecimientos comerciales sacar basura, desechos o desperdicios en horas distintas a las establecidas por los ayuntamientos.


Like many laws in the DR it is the issue of reinforcement and education.


Now even though SD is getting a negative image because of this mess that has washed up it just goes to show you the impact it has nationally. The people need to understand that your garbage is everyone's garbage.


They need a short term solution before they can even consider a long term plan. That amount of trash and waste will lead to other sanitary issues.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-rep...-personas-que-lanzan-basura-en-areas-publicas



-MP.
 
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Chirimoya

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Maybe the media exposure will force the mayor of Santo Domingo and environmental officials to get on board and recognize the huge problem that lack of education of the populous and lack of provision of receptacles has caused over an extended period of time.

I hope that this happens too. In fact there are some waste management and public education programmes under way in some of those riverside barrios but their coverage is nowhere near enough.

In my experience over 20 years in the DR I do think people are a bit more conscious when it comes to littering but clearly not enough either, and if there has been any increase in awareness about waste disposal it has happened at the same time as the steep rise in the use of disposables.

That's why I'd like the Para Te initiative to get more exposure because it's the best way to approach this.
 

alexw

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I live in Evaristo Morales which is a more affluent neighborhood and every empty lot you walk past is filled with trash. This is a Dominican mindset problem and it needs to change immediately.
 

bob saunders

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I live in Evaristo Morales which is a more affluent neighborhood and every empty lot you walk past is filled with trash. This is a Dominican mindset problem and it needs to change immediately.

Absolutely During breaktime at the acgool we have 4 or 5 garbage cans put out and about 3/4 of the kids put their garbage in the can and the rest dont. If you police them you can get about 90 percent.
 

Auryn

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When my Dominican mother in law was here in Canada, she remarked several times about how clean everything was. We were working in the yard one day and had some garbage from planting flowers. There are trees on the edge of the property and she threw the litter there. To her shock, I traipsed in after it and when I emerged, I told her that the reason Canada is clean is because we don’t do that. Her response? “But it won’t even be seen”.

I also remember when I was working at a private, expensive, international school in SD, I constantly witnessed students throwing trash in the courtyard at lunch time. They were very polite when I asked them not to do that, but gave me a confused blank look when I told them that it was everyone’s job to keep the schoolyard clean. Their attitude was very much that is was someone else’s job to clean up after them.

This is a culturally embedded problem that needs a furious, deliberate, determined, and widespread initiative. Yesterday.

I think having a national public school teacher inservice on it might be a start. Equip them with lessons and materials, teach them how the attitude is impacting the country, and how their role can make a difference. But then again, based on what is currently available in public schools I am not optimistic.
 

Marianopolita

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I hope that this happens too. In fact there are some waste management and public education programmes under way in some of those riverside barrios but their coverage is nowhere near enough.

In my experience over 20 years in the DR I do think people are a bit more conscious when it comes to littering but clearly not enough either, and if there has been any increase in awareness about waste disposal it has happened at the same time as the steep rise in the use of disposables.

That's why I'd like the Para Te initiative to get more exposure because it's the best way to approach this.


I think the consciousness of the problem is very selective. Only a small part of the population is aware of the fact that throwing your garbage anywhere has consequences. I remember driving down some streets in SD mainly Mirador Sur in the 90's (so going back in time) and at the end of the street is where people threw their garbage so there was a huge pile. I remember asking one of the ladies how long has the pile been there and how often is the garbage collection. Basically, she gave me a look and response like- mi hija tú no sabe(s) cómo la cosa funciona aquí. Meses.....even baby diapers were in the pile of mess with flies and cats looking for food. Unbelievable! Fast forward to the 21st century I still see more of the same in SD and Samaná.

The Para Te initiative is a micro contribution/ solution to a macro problem. Yes, I know you have to start somewhere but in this case it is the teachings from a young age. The campaign needs to be simple and clear-Do not throw your garbage on the street, school yard, beach, public place. Keep your neighbourhood clean. It needs to start on a small scale before even going national. The mayor of each city needs to take ownership of the campaign and start to clean up the country. That basura speaks to the lack of education and mindset of the population in general. The mentality of el río se la lleva- that has to change. The river takes the garbage where? To the next town? That is what I would ask the person when they toss the garbage into the river.

I do not empathize with Santo Domingo at all or anywhere in the country. This is the consequence of ignoring a problem. It reaches critical mass and is harder to fix when it reaches the point of no return.

Developed nations are challenged with garbage issues so imagine developing nations like the DR. However, the DR has a law which is not being reinforced but what about educating the masses and a national campaign. Limpiemos nuestro país. No bote basura en el río. Protege el medio ambiente. These are potential campaign ads.


BTW- The comment about Canada being clean is subject to opinion. Yes, it is clean but it could be cleaner. I was surprised a couple of years ago there was a survey I read in the newspaper about the top 10 cleanest countries in the world. Guess what Canada was not on the list. Therefore, there is work still to be done. With all the education, campaign and programs in place certain parts of Toronto look like a dump. I see it everyday and shake my head.


-MP.
 
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Chirimoya

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Reading some of the comments on the BBC Earth Facebook page. The post has 1.6k comments, 22k reactions, and 20k shares.

We are currently at an all inclusive resort in Dominican Republic ???????????? and it’s use of single use plastic is insane! There are 500 rooms with at least two people in each room. Each room has about six plastic single use bottles in the mini fridge and each drink is served with a straw apart from beer. If you have any drinks on the beach they are served in a single use plastic cup and if you want to take any food from the buffet you have to have a polystyrene plate rather than the ceramic ones. Is absolutely awful and there is simply no need, even just paper straws and plates would be a start!

Also no one can swim in the sea at all as the seas weed is so bad (it is sea weed season as I understand) this has been made worse by rising sea temps and the sand is full of cigarette butts :( it’s very sad ?????? we have never stayed in a place like this and it’s a real shock to us :( we spend all our time minimising our impact at home and then we come here and see this :(

Replies to her comment include this one and others acknowledging it was not just a DR or even a developing world problem:

This is the problem in South America and the Caribbean... they have super fragile ecosystems and beautiful landscapes but they are so ignorant about it. I know because in Venezuela is the same.

In Riviera Maya, unbelievable the amount of plastic use right next to the beach... and everything goes down the cenotes, the underground cave systems that connect to the sea.
It's very sad but the money makers "resorts" are well more important.

Next time guys google ecohotels, agroturismo or something along the lines. Even staying in an AirBnB, rent apartment etc. is much better. We cannot support staying in resorts anymore. They are damaging the local habitat.
All Inclusives are probably has the worst environmental impact in the tourism industry.
 

Auryn

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Apr 22, 2012
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I think the consciousness of the problem is very selective. Only a small part of the population is aware of the fact that throwing your garbage anywhere has consequences. I remember driving down some streets in SD mainly Mirador Sur in the 90's (so going back in time) and at the end of the street is where people threw their garbage so there was a huge pile. I remember asking one of the ladies how long has the pile been there and how often is the garbage collection. Basically, she gave me a look and response like- mi hija tú no sabe(s) cómo la cosa funciona aquí. Meses.....even baby diapers were in the pile of mess with flies and cats looking for food. Unbelievable! Fast forward to the 21st century I still see more of the same in SD and Samaná.

The Para Te initiative is a micro contribution/ solution to a macro problem. Yes, I know you have to start somewhere but in this case it is the teachings from a young age. The campaign needs to be simple and clear-Do not throw your garbage on the street, school yard, beach, public place. Keep your neighbourhood clean. It needs to start on a small scale before even going national. The mayor of each city needs to take ownership of the campaign and start to clean up the country. That basura speaks to the lack of education and mindset of the population in general. The mentality of el río se la lleva- that has to change. The river takes the garbage where? To the next town? That is what I would ask the person when they toss the garbage into the river.

I do not empathize with Santo Domingo at all or anywhere in the country. This is the consequence of ignoring a problem. It reaches critical mass and is harder to fix when it reaches the point of no return.

Developed nations are challenged with garbage issues so imagine developing nations like the DR. However, the DR has a law which is not being reinforced but what about educating the masses and a national campaign. Limpiemos nuestro país. No bote basura en el río. Protege el medio ambiente. These are potential campaign ads.


BTW- The comment about Canada being clean is subject to opinion. Yes, it is clean but it could be cleaner. I was surprised a couple of years ago there was a survey I read in the newspaper about the top 10 cleanest countries in the world. Guess what Canada was not on the list. Therefore, there is work still to be done. With all the education, campaign and programs in place certain parts of Toronto look like a dump. I see it everyday and shake my head.


-MP.

Campaign ads only go so far, and assume people pay attention to them. In addition to an ad campaign, schools need to be targeted. Starting with primary, public school classroom teachers and eventually moving on to upper grade levels would have a far reaching effect.

Toronto should by no means be used an example for the rest of Canada. Canada was used an example because in comparison to the DR as a country (considering cities besides Toronto), it is cleaner. My mother in law made the comment once in Toronto though, when we spent a couple of days showing her some of the main areas of the city. She mostly took notice in other cities, nowhere even near Ontario because we don't live there.

Not surprisingly at all, Nordic countries top "World's Cleanest" lists each year, as with numerous "Best of" lists. Something has to change both in the DR and globally, and hopefully the attention from the BBC video will ignite it.
 

Marianopolita

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Dec 26, 2003
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Campaign ads only go so far, and assume people pay attention to them. In addition to an ad campaign, schools need to be targeted. Starting with primary, public school classroom teachers and eventually moving on to upper grade levels would have a far reaching effect.

Toronto should by no means be used an example for the rest of Canada. Canada was used an example because in comparison to the DR as a country (considering cities besides Toronto), it is cleaner. My mother in law made the comment once in Toronto though, when we spent a couple of days showing her some of the main areas of the city. She mostly took notice in other cities, nowhere even near Ontario because we don't live there.

Not surprisingly at all, Nordic countries top "World's Cleanest" lists each year, as with numerous "Best of" lists. Something has to change both in the DR and globally, and hopefully the attention from the BBC video will ignite it.


I understand all about classroom teaching. I speak from personal experience. It can be added to the curriculum. However, campaign ads are needed too because adults are not in the classroom and they are huge part of the problem. They are not going to go to school to learn about the importance of protecting our environment. Their understanding is crucial to improving the process.

Globally, developed nations can learn from each other and developing nations can learn from developed nations. Of course, comparing the DR to Canada, we know which one is cleaner. However, all I am saying is that if you say Canada, it is a big country and Toronto is part of it but work still needs to be done. It is a double edge sword. At times, I think the younger generation is worse even with all the recycle bins and trash cans available they still toss their garbage on the street.


In the DR and anywhere the laws need to be reinforced. You toss you pay. If you continue to break the law then the consequence is more serious. People will start to get the message in addition to all the education that needs to be done.


-MP.
 

cobraboy

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Jul 24, 2004
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Here is a good article in LD today.


There is a law in place since 1999 established by ex president Fernández.

It is quite clear:








Like many laws in the DR it is the issue of reinforcement and education.


Now even though SD is getting a negative image because of this mess that has washed up it just goes to show you the impact it has nationally. The people need to understand that your garbage is everyone's garbage.


They need a short term solution before they can even consider a long term plan. That amount of trash and waste will lead to other sanitary issues.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-rep...-personas-que-lanzan-basura-en-areas-publicas



-MP.
As I rhetorically answer our guests when a question comes up about a law: "If a law isn't enforced does it exist?"

Laws without enforcement are meaningless.
 

mobrouser

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Jan 1, 2002
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.....every empty lot you walk past is filled with trash. This is a Dominican mindset problem and it needs to change immediately.

I think it is is a worldwide problem that is apparent on every Caribbean island I have been to, every state in the US and Mexico that I have been to, and across Canada. I can't speak for the UK or Europe, but certainly pictures I have seen of parts of Africa and SE Asia also show the same behaviour.