The Dominican Republic generates 88 thousand tons of plastics annually
Santo Domingo – The Dominican Republic generates 88,000 tons of plastic annually, of which only 25% is managed, according to a study carried out by the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic and the Inter-American Development Bank.
In addition, the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, expressed concern about the precarious management of hospital waste in the country.
According to the data he handles, in the few clinics and hospitals that have incineration plants, they do not work and the entity he directs only has four certified incineration companies, one operating in Santiago and three in Santo Domingo.
“In the absence of regulation, we can see that according to a study carried out by the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic and the Inter-American Development Bank, the country generates 88,000 tons of plastics annually, of which only 25% is managed,” he reported.
Jorge Mera indicated that after 15 years of discussion, the situation has begun to be remedied with the enactment, on October 2, 2020, of the General Law of Integral Management and Co-processing of Solid Waste, No. 225-20, which creates the legal regime to prevent the generation of waste and establishes mechanisms for its integral management.
This regime responds to the need to promote reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, and valorization, over other waste management techniques.
He guaranteed that this law is the key instrument for implementing, on the one hand, a circular economy strategy, which promotes sustainable development through a restorative or regenerative industrial system, to replace the traditional model based on “end-of-life.”
Fostering a circular economy is fundamental to achieve sustainability in the environment and to comply with the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically, Goal 12 on responsible consumption.
“This ministry serves as the country’s representative to the Regional Circular Economy Coalition, a regional initiative launched this year that seeks to accelerate efforts to transition to a circular economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, in which waste management is at the center,” he explained.
Through the steering committee of this Coalition, and from other spaces, the Dominican Republic can position itself in the region as a successful case of transformation towards a comprehensive resource management system, which generates jobs and achieves economic growth, while eliminating negative externalities related to waste.
Law 225-20 clearly establishes the roles to be assumed by government institutions, municipalities, the private sector, and civil society to make a radical leap in the waste management process and put the country on the road to sustainability.
The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, as the governing authority, has been assigned transcendental functions, among which the inter-institutional coordination to establish the system created by the law, which will soon be known as the SINGIR, that is, the National System of Integral Waste Management, stands out.
The SINGIR should also be made up of the Dominican Federation of Municipalities (FEDOMU), the Dominican Federation of Municipal Districts (FEDODIM), the Dominican Municipal League, and the Ministries of Public Health and Education.
“It is up to the Ministry to elaborate technical guidelines to regulate the entire management system and achieve sustainability from the environmental, economic and social point of view, as well as to carry out educational and citizen awareness plans,” he said.