Costa Rica Bans the Entry of Single-use Plastic into National Parks and Biological Reserves

Visitors will be prohibited from carrying bags, bottles, and straws made of single-use plastic

Within the commemoration for the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Park System, the Ministry of Environment and Energy issued the SINAC-DE-944-2020 directive that prohibits single-use plastic in Protected Wild Areas (ASP) of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).

The announcement was made this Tuesday at the Tortuguero National Park, during an activity -under strict sanitary measures- in which the Vice Minister of the Environment, Pamela Castillo, the director of the Conservation Areas System, Grettel Vega and the director of the Tortuguero Conservation Area, Laura Segura, as well as national park officials.

Strict guidelines

The guideline prohibits the consumption, use, and entry of single-use plastics in National Parks, Biological Reserves, and National Monument as of February 25, 2021, six months after its signing. It also stipulates that the Conservation Areas of SINAC will strengthen the actions aimed at the proper management of solid waste within their facilities.

It is important to point out that the conditions previously agreed in administrative contracts or previous use permits and that are in force at the time of publication of this guideline will not be affected, but SINAC will ensure that in the new conditions of this guideline are met.

The prohibition includes materials such as stirrers, straws, disposable cutlery (plastic forks, spoons and knives), disposable cups, fast food containers, plastic tableware, non-reusable plastic bags, disposable plastic bottles, and wrappers that they are not part of the final product.

It applies to visitors, researchers, associated service providers, individuals, or legal entities that carry out activities within these areas, to officials, and in general to all users who enter the Protected Wild Areas.

The guideline will be applied by SINAC officials, especially those who work in the defined Protected Wild Areas, SINAC’s financial administrative department, directors of the conservation areas, and the SINAC institutional supply.

SINAC officials will be the people in charge of ensuring compliance with this guideline, for which they must warn the different users of this prohibition and if they do not comply with it they expose themselves to the confiscation of objects manufactured or packed with single-use plastics.

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