In commemoration of World Coastal, Beach and River Bank Cleanup Day 2021, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Vice-Ministry of Coastal and Marine Resources, held the National Cleanup Day with the purpose of warning and raising awareness about the growing pollution of the seas and oceans that affects marine ecosystems.
During the day on Saturday 18 September, 80 beaches, a coral reef and 25 riverbanks, lakes and streams were cleaned simultaneously with the support of public and private institutions that joined the cause.
In Santo Domingo, the day covered the beaches of Manresa (Rompeolas), Los Pescadores, Plaza Güibia, Fuerte San Gil, Montesinos, Boca Chica, among others. Inland, it covered coasts from La Altagracia province to Monte Cristi, Pedernales, La Romana, Samaná, Puerto Plata, Azua, Barahona, among others.
Environment Minister Orlando Jorge Mera, who led the day’s main event on Manresa beach (Rompeolas), urged the public to raise awareness about the proper management of solid waste, as the high levels of pollution are closely linked to the throwaway culture, which affects marine biodiversity.
“We firmly believe that the legislation we are implementing, including the Solid Waste Management Act, will mark a before and after in the conditions of our country’s beaches, coasts and shores,” said Jorge Mera.
This situation affects everything from plankton to whales, the animals of ocean ecosystems are affected.
According to the UNDP 2018 report, every year, between five and thirteen million tons of rubbish end up in the world’s oceans. From microplastics to macroplastics such as: bags, bottles, tyres, cigarette filters, balloons, caps and straws.
The problem of pollution of coastal marine ecosystems starts on land. Collection, reuse and recycling in developing countries can help reduce the amount of solid waste entering the ocean.
World Coastal, Beach and Riverbank Cleanup Day was instituted by The Ocean Conservancy about three decades ago. It is currently celebrated in more than 100 countries.
In the Dominican Republic, since 2005 the Ministry of Environment initiated the celebration of this day, involving different organizations and institutions.
In addition to the Minister, the activity was led by the Vice-Minister of Coastal and Marine Resources José Ramón Reyes and the Vice-Minister of International Cooperation Milagros De Camps.