More than 40,000 volunteers take action at 95 beaches and 106 riverbanks
On September 29, 2018, the Dominican Republic demonstrated the power of community in a national day of action against marine plastic pollution. To commemorate International Cleanup Day, Parley collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, local NGOs, the army, the navy and citizen volunteers for a massive cleanup series.
More than 46,096 volunteers from 882 governmental and non-governmental institutions, private companies, NGOs, clubs, churches, as well as independent volunteers intervened at 95 beaches and 106 riverbanks, streams and canyons across the Dominican Republic. About 25% of the volunteers were youth.
In total, 14,123 bags of debris weighing approximately 524,247 pounds (238 metric tons) were intercepted, including:
8,281 bags of common solid waste
4,145 bags of recycled plastics
1,224 bags of glass
473 bags of metals
Additionally, organic (e.g. tree branches) and inorganic waste (e.g. car tires) were removed from fragile ecosystems. Across the nation, fragments of foam plates, cups and containers comprised the most abundant form of litter, representing 52% of collected waste. Second were plastic bottles, representing 46% of the total, followed by glass bottles and pieces, representing 1.4%. These findings, together with data from 2017 cleanups, underline the urgent need to protect the DR against marine pollution.
Parley has been working in the DR to clean up and implement Parley AIR (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign), our strategy for long-term solutions, with a focus on communication and education, direct impact, R&D, and eco-innovation. As part of our efforts, we supported the national cleanup day with teams on the ground, supplies, strategies and logistics for the sorting, collection, transportation and diversion of intercepted plastic waste from landfill.
Says Parley DR field coordinator Carmen Danae Chamorro, "This was the first year in the Dominican Republic that the plastics intercepted at the National Cleanup day, in more than 200 beaches & rivers, did not go to any of the open air dumps. Working together with the community and local institutions has proved that there is a way forward through communication and collaboration."
The DR made headlines in July 2018 when a wave of plastic was filmed at Santo Domingo, signaling yet another local consequence of the global plastics crisis. Plastic is a design failure. Better waste management and recycling won’t fix this; we need a Material Revolution. Action is needed not only in areas where the problem is most shockingly visible, but everywhere plastic is produced, used and discarded. We are all responsible. We all share the responsibility to create change.