What Will We Do With All This Trash?
Nestled along the sidewalk, floating on the banks of the river, heaps and piles in abandoned lots, stored under a bridge, and tossed on the street – trash is everywhere. Whether the country lacks the infrastructure to dispose of excess waste or exports its trash to landfills in other countries, the entire world produces more trash than it can handle. Recycling is the ideal solution, but recycling isn’t cost-effective nor simple to implement as a new cultural norm. Plastics bring a packaging revolution; goods keep fresh longer, costs of packaging materials decrease, and the convenience of not keeping reusable items on ourselves entices us to buy “one-time” products. How do we start change in our community, and what will we do with all this trash? Waste management is an ever-expanding crisis in our day and age.
Like most countries in the world, the Dominican Republic struggles with its waste management. Many rural societies don’t receive adequate services for collecting and disposing of trash. In the capital, the amount of people living in Santo Domingo surpasses the amount of trash the government can handle. The infamous focal point of Rio Ozama stands as the most obvious example of over-pollution as it splits Santo Domingo in two. Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans live alongside the river or pass it every day. The accumulated waste is hard to miss. That extra waste finds itself on the banks of Ozama and comes in “waves of trash” that the ocean rejects and spits back upon the beaches of the capital.