By: Marilenny Dishmey Almeida, 2017 Greenheart Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar

The Dominican Republic is a wonderful country full of beautiful places. However, there are some places that are very run down by pollution. Drinking water is no longer safe and the amount of garbage accumulated in the streets, rivers, and lakes has caused the deterioration of many of our ecosystems. Pollution has also caused the decline and loss of many species in the country.

Unfortunately, the people who are most vulnerable to becoming ill due to pollution are children and the elderly. Some common diseases caused by pollution are:

  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia
  • Viral diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever or hepatitis
  • Lung cancer, with an increased risk of up to 20%

One way to solve these problems is to create a campaign to raise awareness about the poor state our environment is in on a community level. In this forum, we can talk about:

  • The benefits of recycling and how it favors the community
  • The first steps towards sustainable recycling
  • The fact that 90% of household trash can be recycled

We are aware that recycling can become a prosperous industry where low-income communities can participate as operators and beneficiaries of the process, as long as the city council participates as a manager and propeller of the same process.

 There are 5 reasons why a community should encourage and develop recycling:

  1. Recycling reduces the accumulation of waste in landfills, helps avoid public health problems, and reduces pollution of water, air, land and avoids environmental problems such as deforestation, among others.
  2. You can make significant profits from the sale of products and materials after recycling, in addition to saving on energy and natural resources in the production of new products.
  3. Recycling makes the waste management system more economically sustainable and improves cleanliness in the community.
  4. The action of recycling requires all social groups to collaborate, so it strengthens the ties of individuals and companies as part of the community.
  5. The simple practice of recycling helps educate children on the importance of caring for the environment.

Do you want to advocate for a cause in your home country? Apply for a Greenheart Service Grant through the Greenheart Club!