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Caribbean clean-up group sets sights on plastics recycling plant

Plastics recycler Jorge Rizek, ceo and founder of Rizek Vidal Recyclers in the Dominican Republic, has a dream of establishing a major plastics recycling facility in the country supplied with plastics sourced from the Caribbean region.

Rizek is one of the driving forces behind a major plastics clean-up over the final weekend of August in the island’s capital Santo Domingo. The two-day event from Waste Free Oceans (WFO) is part of the group’s Caribbean Roadshow aimed at reducing the growing stream of ocean-bound plastics.

The activity follows an educational project with a local school in June when WFO volunteers, pupils and their teachers cleaned the banks of the river Río Dulce. Now a waste-catching trawl will be placed on a small tributary, the Cañada de Cuesta Hermosa, for the next few months and regularly emptied. There will also be clean-ups on Playa Guibia, in Santo Domingo, with about 50 participants. The collected plastics will be sorted at Rizek Vidal Recyclers’ facility.

Beyond creating awareness  

As well as inspiring a change in habits and collecting waste, WFO says the goal of the project is ‘to show the Dominican authorities there are large quantities of waste on the island which, on the one hand, can be collected, and on the other hand, can be recycled and reused, thus encourage them to accelerate the decision process to set up a large recycling plant in the country’.

WFO is collaborating with local partners including Rizek to set up such plant in the Dominican Republic, recycling plastic waste recovered across the Caribbean.

Next stop: Haiti 

After the clean-up weekend, the Caribbean Roadshow will move to Haiti, the poorest country in the western Hemisphere and facing huge plastics pollution, before moving to other countries and islands in the region. ‘Through our clean-ups, we aim to inspire a change in consumption habits and behaviours, and to initiate new decisions on a government level concerning plastic sorting and recycling,’ says WFO.

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