During the summer of 2013, I took a life-changing trip to The Dominican Republic. Whilst there, I learnt about issues involving sustainability by participating in several eye-opening projects to help improve the lives of impoverished communities. This has inspired me to promote the concept of human security and to try to improve the world we live in.
In The Dominican Republic, waste is disposed of in neither a safe nor reusable manner; something which is taken so much for granted in the developed world. Currently, rubbish is either burnt; releasing toxic chemicals into the air, which severely damages the health of nearby Dominicans, left in rubbish piles on roadsides or sent to landfill. All of these practices take up valuable land which could be used for much more economically beneficial purposes, such as agriculture. Additionally, it is highly dangerous for local children, and produces landfill gas, which remains one of the main contributors towards greenhouse gases.
My goal is to reduce the amount of landfill in The Dominican Republic, by encouraging local communities to dispose of waste in a sustainable manner through safely recycling or reusing materials. My aim is to implement ‘Embracing Waste’ during the summer of 2014. The project will initially focus on small local communities in Puerto Plata, such as Las Canas and Cano Dulce. Working with the Caribbean Sustainability Institute, we will collect the different types of waste at collection sites within each community. This will then be transported, on a weekly basis, to individual recycling sites: glass waste will be recycled in Puerto Plata; plastic and metal waste will be sold to local businesses and any organic matter will be used as food for livestock or will be turned into compost.
In the upcoming months, I also intend to do some research into how we could introduce a larger-scale recycling project to reduce Styrofoam (one of the most toxic components of rubbish) in Dominican landfills. This would be run in connection with local communities creating more employment opportunities, whilst in turn encouraging Dominicans to reuse Styrofoam in a sustainable manner, instead of burning the material, which at the moment is the norm.
Money raised through fundraising will directly fund the setting up of collection sites (approximately £300) and the providing of detachable trailers for transportation (approximately £950). This makes a total cost of £1,250 to set up a recycling system per community. Primarily, ‘Embracing Waste’ will promote a cleaner environment through preserving our natural resources by reusing instead of wasting. The project will, additionally, not only reduce the risk of chronic diseases to Dominicans’ health, but will also provide a regular income to transportation workers, which will inevitably be used to support and provide a better life for their families in much need of even the basic necessities of food and water.
Any donations will be greatly appreciated as all money will make a crucial difference in creating a much safer, more sustainable environment for Dominicans who live, work and play in the dangerous rubbish, filled streets. Thank you for your support!
Note: The Caribbean Sustainability Institute is run by Dave Addison and a small team in the DR. It works in partnership with Global Leadership Adventures, an American organisation running volunteer programmes for teenagers across the world, (through which my trip last year was organised). My flights, accommodation and food costs are all paid for and all money raised will go directly towards the project.