In what is being described as the “world’s latest garbage emergency”, a video has gone viral showing 30 tonnes of plastic debris washing up on a beach in the Dominican Republic.
NGO Parley for the Oceans has released footage of “wave after wave of plastic waste” washing onto Montesinos Beach in the capital Santo Domingo.
A huge clean-up operation began on Wednesday with more than 500 local public workers, navy and army support mobilised to collect and remove the massive floating stockpile of plastic bottles, takeaway food containers and styrofoam.
“Seeing this firsthand is absolutely shocking, but what’s worse is that this is not news in Santo Domingo,” Parley’s Carmen Danae Chamorro said.
“This situation happens every time it rains heavily, that’s why it’s important to shine a light on what has been ignored.”
PLASTIC EMERGENCY ALERTWe need a wave of change and a material revolution. Here’s the story behind this haunting video.It was taken in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, where Parley and collaborators are working hand in hand with the military and the city council. Over 500 public workers have been mobilized for this cleanup operation.After three days of cleanups we have intercepted over 30 tons of plastic, but there is a lot more work to be done.This Saturday, #CoronaxParley will host a cleanup at the beach – DM us if you are on the island and would like to get involved. Wherever you are in the world, you can be part of the solution:#ParleyAIR: Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.#firstname.lastname@example.org @corona @sustainablecoastlineshawaii
Posted by Parley for the Oceans on Tuesday, July 17, 2018
She said the Santo Domingo mayor David Collado was assisting in the operation but most of the debris will have to be sent to landfill because “it is mixed and contaminated”.
On Parley’s Facebook page, six tonnes of plastic will be turned into so-called “Ocean Plastic” which they say is “a premium material used to create products that act as symbols of change and fund the battle against marine plastic pollution”.
Another clean-up effort is being organised for this weekend after 30 tonnes of waste was collected in just three days.
The shocking video has been seen almost a million times.
One Twitter user said: “If you plan a vacation to the Caribbean
You might be seeing more garbage than beach”.
Others described their shock at the “trash in paradise” vision.
I don’t care who you are this has got to make stomachs across the board turn.
Out of control consumption of disposable plastic has gone way too far.
We need to take immediate action before our beaches end up looking like this one in Santo Domingo. pic.twitter.com/u3nUCCi9RZ
— 🌷Virginia🌷 (@VirginiaInCal) July 17, 2018
The sea of plastic waste in the Caribbean was photographed by underwater photographer Caroline Power in September last year between the islands Roatan and Cayos Cochinos, off the coast of Honduras.
Ms Power told The Telegraph in the UK that seeing the plastic blanket of forks, bottles and rubbish was “devastating”.
“To see something that I care so deeply for being killed, slowly choked to death by human waste was devastating,” she told paper at the time.
“Once the trash is in the ocean, it is incredibly difficult and costly to remove. The key is to stop the trash before it enters the ocean,” she said.