Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula Efforts to Eliminate Single Use Plastic

Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula Efforts to Eliminate Single Use Plastic

Many people around the globe have joined the initiative to eliminate or at least reduce the use of single use plastics. Last November, the local authorities and organizations within the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica signed a declaration to avoid the use of disposable plastics. Now, one year later, the Osa continues its efforts to change habits. Furthermore, its goal is to banish single-use plastics among consumers.

“Plastic is damaging our ecosystems, contaminating our rivers and in the end the unfortunate thing is that it ends in the seas. It is worrisome and we must stop it now.” – Luis Centeno, President, Chamber of Tourism, Osa Peninsula 

Say No To Single Use Plastics

The Chamber of Tourism of Osa (Catuosa) and the Municipality announced that new clauses will be applied in the patent regulations. The idea is for companies to be forced to eliminate plastic from “single use” provision of their services. Additionally, they are encouraged to carry out the recycling of solid waste.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) referred to this measure as an “unprecedented achievement”. The initiative was born as part of the Osa Libre de Plastico (Osa Free of Plastic) campaign. The tourist organization is a pioneer of this caliber in Costa Rica.

With the support of the Ministries of Environment and Health and the Corcovado Foundation, members of the Chamber are promoting the elimination of straws,plastic bags, styrofoam and single-use plastics in general. According to Osa mayor Alberto Cole, the idea from the local government is to involve merchants and other sectors that are not represented in the Chamber (Catuosa).

The Effects of Plastic In Rivers And Seas

Laura Dos Santos is the coordinator of the Marine Turtle Conservation Program of the Corcovado Foundation. She stated that the greatest danger to the survival of these turtles are the one-use plastics. Unfortunately, they often end up in the oceans. Consequently, they are consumed by the turtles and other species which often results in death. 

“To counteract this problem is to promote these strategies that motivate consumers and producers of this type of material and utensils. From the Minae we yearn for products that are more sustainable and friendly with the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environment,” added Haydeé Rodríguez, deputy minister of Water and Mares.

Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula Efforts to Eliminate Single Use Plastic

A Lot To Swallow

80% of marine pollution comes from terrestrial sources; of this, more than 80% is some kind of plastic. (Source: United Nations Development Program)

More than 170 marine species affected by the ingestion of plastics are reported. That is a large number to swallow. According to the Ministry of Health, 11% of the four thousand tons of waste generated in Costa Rica is from plastic. 

Scientific studies worldwide show that plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose depending on the type. Using such durable material for disposable objects consequently impacts the world catastrophically.

First Sustainable Tourism Chamber

Although there are bills and other initiatives, there is still a slow progress in achieving taxes, fees or other regulations to reduce the use of disposable plastics. However, the movement is gaining momentum. Catuosa aims to become the first sustainable tourism chamber in Costa Rica. Finally, here at Talk Costa Rica, we support the initiative 100%. It is another example of the high value the country places on protecting its environment. 

Source: CRHoy

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