USAID and CEBSE Sign Agreement to Address Plastic Pollution in Samaná
The United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement with the Center for the Conservation and Eco-Development of the Bay of Samaná and its Environment (CEBSE ) and its partners, the Samaná Environmental Forum and Dominican Ecoservices to identify and analyze a series of practical methods to reduce the amount of plastics and the impact of waste through changes in community and domestic management of these. This agreement is made under USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program.
Through this agreement, CEBSE and its associates will meet with members, communities and businesses in the province of Samaná to carry out a community investigation on how the population produces and disposes of waste and the reasons behind these practices. Based on the findings, community members and other local partners will commit to testing new and effective practices that help stop the growing production of waste, especially plastics, which ends up in rivers, Samaná Bay and the ocean. Currently, waste collection services do not reach an estimated 25% of households in the Dominican Republic and, with few alternatives for waste disposal, the impact on health and the environment has worsened.
“USAID is pleased to partner with CEBSE to support the government of the Dominican Republic in identifying waste management solutions that not only prevent waste from reaching the ocean, but also improve the well-being of communities and promote commitment,” said David Billings, Acting Director of USAID. “For the implementation of any program, it is essential to understand and adapt the solutions to serve the community and we hope that the CEBSE research on how residents, businesses and personnel of the waste sector can join forces to address this global challenge.”
CEBSE will also meet with Samaná’s waste sector workers, including informal workers, sellers of recyclables, owners of recycling businesses, and providers of large-scale waste management services to assess the current participation of women in managing the life cycle of waste and identifying economic empowerment opportunities for women.
“Within Samaná, there are great opportunities to improve waste management. When waste is collected, it ends up in the more than 350 informal and open-air garbage dumps throughout the country and waste disposal, particularly in Samaná, has presented challenges, ”explained Patricia Lamelas, CEBSE’s executive director. “Better waste management means a reduction in environmental impact, an improvement in community health, as well as economic benefits, such as more job opportunities for women in a sector that men have traditionally dominated. This research is the first step to identify the actions that can be implemented in order to solve these problems and, in doing so, create a dialogue within the Samaná community ”.
The USAID program operates in several major countries around the world and in late 2019 launched its program in the Dominican Republic. The program seeks to improve local solid waste management by eliminating the land-based source of waste that, globally, is exacerbating plastic pollution in the oceans. In the Dominican Republic, the program aims to help the national government strengthen solid waste management and is being developed in the Samaná province to implement and test adaptable solutions to manage waste and recycle.
Melinda Donnelly, Clean Cities, Blue Ocean: Melinda.Donnelly@cleancitiesblueocean.org