We often get asked: Why Colombia?
No matter if friends, partners or funders, they often want to know why we conduct projects in Colombia. There is a good reason for it. Let’s look at the facts about the global plastic streams:
About 32 million tonnes of plastic ends up in open or insecure landfills in the coastal region through mismanagement. About a quarter of it ends up in the ocean. But even if it doesn’t reach the ocean, it pollutes the nature in the beautiful coastal regions.
Colombia has a coast line of more than 3’200 km. A major part of it is covered by mangroves, which do not only provide a valuable habitat for animals but are also a relevant carbon storage.
While in Switzerland most people sort their waste at household level and plastics are either recycled (mostly PET and PE bottles) or the energy is recoverd through an incineration plant, the waste management system in Colombia is less developed. People are sometimes not aware of plastics harming the environment or simply don’t have any option to get rid of it properly, so it ends up either directly in the nature nearby or is transported to a landfill.
However, individual solutions are feasible to improve the situation in coastal regions and decrease plastic pollution. This is where Plasticaware enters the game! We choose a location for a project and start by analyzing the situation on-site and get to know the actors within the local waste management. This activities are followed by raising awareness for plastic pollution through household visits and providing education for young rolemodels, so called “Plastic Heroes”. If the location proofs suitable, the Plasticaware team develops a concept to improve the waste management with a focus on reducing, reusing and recycling plastic.
There is one more aspect. The implementation of a new concept always requires understanding, acceptance and contribution of the affected people. The inclusion of local citizens from the beginning of a project is key for sustainable change. Since the team at Plasticaware consists of very motivated and engaged members in Colombia and Switzerland with various backgrounds, we have the possibility to collaborate with the local people and higher chance to bring a project to success.