Please get in touch if you’re in the Dominican Republic and would like to help
With wave after wave of plastic waste washing ashore in the Dominican Republic, Parley teams are on the ground dealing with the world’s latest garbage emergency. Unless urgent action is taken, scenes like this will become more common.
Video by Carmen Danae Azor, Director Parley Caribbean
Late last year, images of trash-covered beaches in Bali shocked the world and prompted the government to declare a 'garbage emergency'. Now, video taken in the Dominican Republic by Carmen Danae Chamorro, Director Parley Caribbean, shows an equally apocalyptic scene – wave after wave of plastic debris rolling in at Montesinos Beach in the capital, Santo Domingo.
As the dense garbage carpet ripples in the surf, individual items ranging from plastic bottles to styrofoam takeout boxes can be seen poking out – symptoms of our global disposable plastic culture and one island's struggle to stem the tide.
“In the past we sent postcards with magical beaches and palm trees. Now, it's waves of plastic trash. Unless we all act now, future generations won't even believe the postcard scenes ever existed. We are calling for a Material Revolution – plastic has to go.”
– Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley
Garbage emergencies like this are urgent reminders that we need to act fast. Unless urgent action is taken, scenes like this will become more common all over the world in the coming years as we reach a plastic tipping point. Wherever you are, be part of the solution and take the Parley AIR pledge to Avoid, Intercept and Redesign plastic today.
In total, over 1000 tons of debris has now been removed from the impacted region in Santo Domingo since July 13th. Despite these efforts, more plastic arrives with the tides each day. Parley is working on a long-term plan for the Dominican Republic and will remain on the ground there. As part of the Parley AIR strategy, we will continue to organize ongoing clean-ups, implement education initiatives and develop waste management strategies with our local partners. If you're in the Dominican Republic and would like to get involved, please sign up below.
Parley is currently on site working with the navy, the army, public workers and the municipal government. Over 500 public workers were mobilized for the operation, and after three days of work teams had collected 30 tons of plastic. So far, six tons of that has been recovered by Parley to be transformed into Ocean Plastic® – a premium material used to create products that act as symbols of change and fund the battle against marine plastic pollution.
“Seeing this firsthand is absolutely shocking, but what’s worse is that this is not news in Santo Domingo,” explains Parley’s Carmen Danae Chamorro from the scene. “This situation happens every time it rains heavily, that’s why it’s important to shine a light on what has been ignored.”
Machinery and trucks have been drafted in to deal with the massive tide of plastic, much of which will have to be sent to landfill because it is mixed and contaminated. The mayor of Santo Domingo is giving us the city's full support and hopes to divert as much usable plastic as possible to Parley.
Beyond assisting with clean-up efforts, Parley is working to implement the AIR strategy (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) island-wide. Working with local leaders and government, the plan focuses on education and communication, identifying the root of the problem, and working with policy-makers improve the island's waste and recycling infrastructure.