More Than 45 Tons of Solid Waste Will No Longer Contaminate Our Landscapes, as a Result of National Costa Rican Cleanup Day 2023

    The Plastic-Free Landscapes Project

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    Pollution from plastic waste is a reality that affects the country throughout the national, land and marine territory. Plastic waste that leaks into the environment impacts different ecosystems, where it affects biodiversity and human health.

    From December 4 to 10, the UNDP, through the Plastic-Free Landscapes project, once again organized the National Cleanup Day, an effort that results in the recovery of more than 45 tons of solid waste that contaminated our natural landscapes.

    During those days, cleaning days were carried out throughout the national territory, with the collaboration of public and private companies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, universities and volunteer teams.

    “At UNDP, as the largest development agency of the United Nations, we understand the urgency of providing practical and effective solutions against plastic waste pollution, and even more so, if these actions are framed under the scheme of an inclusive and circular economy. egalitarian, where the new paths proposed are the result of a process of co-creation between the different sectors of society. It is under the framework of the generation of alliances that the second National Cleaning Day of the Landscapes without Plastics project is carried out, reflecting how the individual contribution of organizations and people results in a vital synergy in favor of the environment and sustainable development. said José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica.

    Landscapes without Plastic is a project whose partners are CRDC PEDREGAL, Canal 7, Delfino CR, One Sea and UNDP. All the efforts of the project come together to meet the goal of freeing Costa Rica from all solid waste in the environment and being able to give it correct management to be reused or enter the circular economy model that converts this waste into RESIN8, plastic sand that It is used again in construction.

    “Under the framework of the Landscapes without Plastics project, the National Cleanup Day arises with the objective of carrying out a positive intervention in the environment. It is corrective since it addresses the issue of tragic plastics that accumulate every day in our landscapes; It is preventive by raising awareness among the entire population of the serious impact of plastic waste on the environment and the importance of assuming responsible production and consumption models; and it is participatory and egalitarian, where public and private organizations and hundreds of volunteers come together for a common cause: a Costa Rica with landscapes without plastics,” commented Juan Carlos Piñar, Coordinator of the UNDP Circular Economy Program.

    Why a National Cleanup Day?

    In Costa Rica, every day the equivalent of 40m3 carloads of plastic waste leak into the environment, becoming plastic that cannot be reused in any way. These remain permanently in the environment; rivers, public spaces, oceans, and anywhere where waste management is not the most appropriate. That is why, in this second Day of Landscapes without Plastics, local governments had a very important participation, mobilizing resources and the community to achieve the realization of cleaning days in the Costa Rican territory.

    “The national collection day demonstrates that the conservation, protection and restoration of the environment are a common goal that unites us throughout the national territory, the active participation of our local governments gives a sense of belonging to the territories over their own resources that It will be key to advancing the national sustainability goals and objectives, this in the hands of the leadership, technicians and professionals that each municipality has in this matter,” said Msc. Ingrid Sandoval Villalobos, Coordinator of Environmental Management of the Municipality of Tibás and President of the Municipal Environmental Technical Network.

    One of the great contributions of the day to the Costa Rican environment is to ensure the correct management of waste collected under a circular economy scheme. This encourages more days to continue being carried out, using new technologies and best environmental practices.

    Ana YancyArce, Sustainability and Communication Manager at PEDREGAL commented:

    “All non-recyclable plastics collected during this day will be received at our RESIN8 Plant, where we guarantee that they will not become pollutants; but rather that they will be given a second chance as raw material in the construction industry.”

    The Talamanca area joined the day

    In this second edition of National Cleanup Day, the UNDP Connecting Communities and Ecosystems project became an indispensable ally in the Talamanca area, mobilizing organizations and coordinating with groups that resulted in more than 500 kilos of waste collected. One of these teams was the Binational Women’s Group.

    “The Transboundary Analysis (TA) of the Binational Basin of the Sixaola River indicates that contamination by solid waste is one of the 8 environmental problems shared by Costa Rica and Panama in this space. Structural situations in institutions and production must be resolved. But the cleaning days help us raise awareness about Comprehensive Waste Management. In Talamanca we have the support of the Binational Women’s Group with whom we work on the circular economy,” said the project coordinator, Celeste LópezQuirós.

    National Cleanup Day is a call to attention about the serious level of pollution generated by the poor management of solid waste, and especially plastic waste, and the urgent need to adopt more responsible production and consumption models. But it is also a great example of the result that can be achieved with the collaborative and transformative effort of all sectors of society and the population in general.

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