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Costa Rica aspires to become the world’s first single-use plastic-free zone. And if he doesn’t succeed, what he has already done is start the work to achieve that goal. To this end, he presented a national strategy with which he seeks to replace disposable bags, straws, spoons and other plastics (and wait hundreds of years for them to degrade) with renewable and biodegradable alternatives.

“Solid waste is a threat to the development of societies”, he warned during the presentation of this strategy Fernando Mora, Deputy Minister of Water and Seas from the country of Central America. SIn Costa Rica alone, up to 440 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day.

It is at the origin of this strategy which is part of the National Plan for Comprehensive Waste Management 2016-2021, and which is based on “The best plastic waste is the one that is not generated”, according to Haydée Rodríguez, of the MarViva Foundation, one of those participating in this initiative which, in addition to starting with the authorities, has the support of organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the CRUSA Foundation (Costa Rica United States for Cooperation) and the National Chamber of Traders.

Broad participation in the fight against single-use plastics is essential to forge a line of work that will attempt to replace products made with this material with more environmentally friendly ones. Specific, it is planned to find an alternative that biodegrades in the marine environment within a maximum period of six months.

This strategy will be approached from five fronts. More specifically, it will operate with municipal incentives; directives to the various institutions; replacement of single-use plastics; research and development; in addition to investing in projects that provide renewable and compostable alternatives.

While the primary objective is clear, the promoters of this strategy have detailed it point by point. So, By 2021, 80% of establishments are expected to be declared plastic free zones from central government, shopping malls, industries, public transport and massive public events in Costa Rica.

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The promoters of the initiative, who are convinced that it will spread to other territories, have created the website www.zonalibredeplastico.com. Thanks to it, you can access all the details of this strategy and, in the future, monitor the results. However, one of the fundamental goals of the website is to engage society and business and endorse the goal of making Costa Rica a plastic-free zone.

Costa Rica’s commitment is essential at a time when, according to studies, if waste production continues at the current rate, in 2050 plastic will be more present in the seas than fish. For them, the roughly 150 million tonnes of plastic waste that spills into the oceans is a significant threat which, moreover, is transferred to the food chain. Without measures like that of this country, a minimum of 46,000 kilos of plastic waste will be added each year and may remain in the water for up to four centuries.