#Environment: Costa Rica to Ban all Single-Use Plastics by 2021

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#Environment- Costa Rica to Ban all Single-Use Plastics by 2019. Source- WEF 2

In a bid to save the nation’s ecosystem from the devastating effect of waste, Costa Rica has taken a dramatic action against plastic waste by announcing a plan to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. This includes straws, bottles, cutlery, cups and bags.

In the same vein, the government is offering incentives to businesses, as well as investing in research into alternatives to single-use plastics in order to achieve its goal.

The Devastating Effect of Waste

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, every minute, one garbage truck of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife. According to one estimate, 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic by 2050, if current trends continue.

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The eight-minute video showed a male Olive Ridley turtle bleeding as the scientists struggled to extract the straw. The research team posted their footage online to raise awareness of the harm that plastics cause to marine life. After team members extracted a couple of centimetres of the object with pliers and snipped off a sample, they discovered that the wrinkled, brownish object was a plastic drinking straw. The team disinfected the sea turtle’s nose and watched it n order to ensure it seemed healthy before releasing it back into the ocean.

Perhaps, this ban is a response by the Costa Rican government.

#Environment- Costa Rica to Ban all Single-Use Plastics by 2019. Source- WEF
Effect of plastic waste on nature. Image by the UN Environment

A report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in partnership with the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 plastic in the ocean could weigh more than fish. Disposable plastics are used for a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds, but as the chart below shows, they can take hundreds of years to decompose.

#Environment- Costa Rica to Ban all Single-Use Plastics by 2019. Source
Image credit: Environmental Protection Authority, Victoria from WEF

Some countries and cities have restricted or prohibited the use of plastic bags. In fact, the authorities in New Delhi has introduced a ban on disposable plastics. However, Costa Rica wants to be the first country to outlaw all single-use plastics.


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