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Ellis writes: "Costa Rica is setting itself an aim of becoming the first country to be plastic and carbon-free by 2021."

Costa Rica. (photo: Far Out Magazine)
Costa Rica. (photo: Far Out Magazine)

Costa Rica Aiming to Be World's First Plastic and Carbon-Free Country by 2021

By Nathan Ellis, Far Out Magazine

17 March 19


osta Rica is setting itself an aim of becoming the first country to be plastic and carbon-free by 2021.

This huge target, one that will require huge dedication to reaching its goal, will see the country ban all carbons and single-use plastics. There are added pressures for other nations to think about their effects on the world. Yesterday, children from all over the world went on strike from their schools to raise awareness about the importance of climate change and their futures. Costa Rica are not the only country to think about more sustainable structures as Boracay, in the Philippines and Maya Beach in Thailand have both taken serious steps to improve sustainability.

The pledge Costa Rica have made, if implemented in time, will make them the first country to be carbon and single-use plastic free in the world. The country first announced its plans to rid the country of single-use plastic back in 2017 as part of World Environment Day. Following that, Costa Rica has launched a national strategy to replace plastics with recyclable and water-soluble materials.

The country’s other pledge to be carbon neutral by 2021 was made back in 2007, in May of last month the countries president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada reinforced this with a plan to ban fossil fuels. A carbon neutral nation must make sure that the amount of carbon being produced is equal to what is being taken away. Such efforts as banning fossil fuels and planting more trees to offset emissions are key their plans. Costa Rica has doubled its forest area from 26% in 1984 to 52% in 2017.

It is well on its way to reaching the target set with 99% of its energy coming from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Its efforts have shown it to be setting the standard, especially in ecotourism.

Single-use plastics are a major problem the world over and, as we’re all very much aware, is not a sustainable material. An estimated five trillion plastic bags are used every that end up in a landfill, or worse the ocean. It takes around 1000 years for single-use plastics to decompose. There are other materials that can be sourced and used that are more sustainable and it is up to countries around the world to make that decision to enforce the use of alternative and sustainable materials.

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+11 # jon 2019-03-17 11:00
When I was very young - I was born in 1944 - all produce sections in markets used paper bags. Each section of fruit or vegetables had two or three slots with small, medium, and larger bags to accommodate however many apples you needed. The slots that provided these were replaced by the plastic bags on a roller.

With Hemp cultivation back, this fast growing, non-tree source of paper might be one possible solution.

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