Plastic emergency in the Dominican Republic highlights urgency of phasing out single-use plastic
A former Caribbean tourist destination is now a dump after a tropical storm flooded its beaches with over a thousand tons of plastic.
Known for its sandy white beaches and turquoise blue waters, Montesinos Beach in the Dominican Republic’s capital city Santo Domingo is now covered in plastic bottles and styrofoam takeout boxes:
The environmental non-profit Parley for the Oceans has helped locals remove over a thousand tons of plastic over the last three weeks, but there is still more work to be done.
The organization is transforming a portion of the recovered plastic into Ocean Plastic® – a material used to create products like these Adidas shoes that create awareness and fund the campaign against ocean plastic.
This is not the first time plastic has piled up on the shores of Santo Domingo.
“This situation happens every time it rains heavily, that’s why it’s important to shine a light on what has been ignored,” says Parley’s Carmen Danae Chamorro in a press release.
The phenomenon is not confined to the Dominican Republic, Parley’s founder Cyrill Gutsch told the New York Times. It can be seen in many developing nations with a coastline.
“Everybody uses the rivers and the beaches as dump sites.”
From there, plastic washes into the ocean, and then the ocean spits a portion of it back onto shorelines during storms.
Parley for the Oceans argues recycling is only a bandaid and advocates phasing out single-use plastic altogether.
“In the past we sent postcards with magical beaches and palm trees,” Parley’s founder Cyrill Gutsch added. “Now, it’s waves of plastic trash. Unless we all act now, future generaions won’t even believe the postcard scenes ever existed. We are calling for a Material Revolution – plastic has to go.”