Plastic in the Dominican Republic

I recently went to the Dominican Republic for a family vacation. Instead of buying things for Christmas we go down south and make memories. This year we were in Puerto Plata; a 5-hour drive from Cap-Haitien. Cap-Haitien is having a major issue with plastic pollution in the water. Due to the location, plastic is easily drifted to this location.

I was determined to see the ‘plastic ocean’ myself and expose it to as many people as possible, to prove that this plastic issue is not a hoax. Unfortunately, for me, we were told to absolutely not go to Haiti as two Canadian women in our late twenties. We could not find the proper protection to go. So instead, I explored the plastic pollution surrounding Puerto Plata.

I went to a landfill off Highway 5 heading southwest. Before the beautiful, lush, green mountains I saw fragments of grey smoke plumes linger in the air. The method of garbage removal in the DR is to burn it all. The developing country does not have the equipment or resources that we have to handle a landfill.

I was eager to go check out the landfill. You could smell it from kilometers away. I didn’t care…I needed to get up close and see this for myself. I stood there in the most awful stench with flip flops on wanting to go further. Wanting to see the piles of rubbish burning in flames. Wanting to expose this to the world as black flies swarmed towards me and poked every inch of my skin as I inhaled all of the polluted particulate matter surrounding me.

My question for you is, what if this was your backyard? Would you stop using plastic? Recycling does not even do justice any more. Prevention and reduction is where we have to set our minds. Seriously, I am asking, what if this was your backyard? The plastic is not going anywhere so we HAVE to stop using it. I want you to imagine standing in my position.

This year I am attempting to reduce my garbage footprint in significant ways. I will not buy anything new (except for food and personal hygiene items). I will choose glass over plastic to reuse. I will have 1 bag of trash (approximately 50cm x 50cm x 17cm) for the ENTIRE year of 2019.

I will be posting my strategies and techniques on Earthub. The hub of everything Earth.

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