Take a drive along Route 27, and at Santa Ana, you’ll notice a big fence made from of bottles trapped in a net with a sign that reads: “The truth always comes out.”
The work of 3,500 plastic bottles by artist Francesco Bracci, represents 55 cubic meters of plastic used by an average Costa Rican family. This fence is part of the campaign “The truth always comes out, recycling is not enough” driven by the organization “Preserve Planet.”
“The goal of this initiative is to make people consume fewer bottles and plastic bags, and instead use more sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions, such as glass bottles (much better if they are returnable), aluminum or stainless steel water storage and cloth bags to load objects,” said Luis Diego Marín, regional coordinator of the environmentalist group.
The advertisement on the road which connects San Jose with the port of Caldera on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific aims to raise awareness of the people that are traveling to the Pacific beaches, since much of the discarded plastic ends in ocean and coastal environments varied by the rivers.
“Most of the people are not aware of where our wastes ends, nor can see the difference between a recyclable container and a reusable one. On the other hand, trying to recycle the plastic (obtain a new bottle from another one used) is expensive and difficult technically and logistically speaking,” said Marín.
According to data from Preserve Planet, Costa Ricans consume about 622 million plastic bottles a year. Of those containers, about 560 millions end up as trash, as only 12.95 % of these plastic waste is recycled.
A plastic bottle takes 1,000 years to degrade, according to the international organization Plastic Pollution Coalition. “That means we still live with the very first plastics, Marín explained.
Also, the plastic ends up in oceans and seas causes the death of species that eat it, like birds and marine mammals, fishes and reptiles.
In 2014 beach cleanups, volunteers removed 97.24 tons of solid waste. About 3.15 tons were recoverable waste, it means it could still be reused or recycled.