This week the Municipality of San José announced that it will fight to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, such as straws, plastic bags and styrofoams. It will do so with internal and external actions, including a pilot project in Barrio Escalante stores and incentives for the patents.
The initiatives aim to sensitize and encourage, but not to collect, regulate and prohibit. Approximately 20 countries, including neighboring Panama, have already added taxes and prohibitions, but in Costa Rica it seems a very distant possibility.
Haydée Rodríguez, manager of Political Advocacy of MarViva Foundation, said that a municipal incentive could be the decrease in the rate of waste collection for businesses that apply the commitment #ChaoPlásticoDesechable. The organization signed an agreement with the municipality to work on this strategy.
Other options are credits. Legal reforms are needed to allow the local government to generate charges, fees or taxes. That is why Rodríguez mentioned that the constitutional restrictions force us to look for another way via incentives.
Figures of a crisis
• The oceans are dying: every year, eight million tons of plastic are deposited in them. This is equivalent to the contents of a garbage truck every minute. By 2030 it will be the equivalent of two trucks every minute.(Study led by Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia)
• 80% of marine pollution comes from terrestrial sources: and more than 80% of this is some kind of plastic. (Data from UNDP)
• More than 170 marine species affected by the ingestion of plastics are reported
• By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans
• Of the four thousand tons of waste generated in Costa Rica, 11% corresponds to plastic (Ministry of Health).