The message of plastic pollution is spreading fast around the globe. At the end of June 2011, a Plastic Pollution Coalition group visited Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala, at the special invitation of Preserve Planet, Jovenes Ambientalistas, SAVIA and G-22. The group included our Executive Director, Daniella Russo, our Science Advisory Board Chair Wallace “J” Nichols, Ph.D.; Nancy Buermeyer, Senior Policy Strategist of PPC member Breast Cancer Fund,; and PPC Advisor JD Russo.
In a series of press conferences, media interviews and meetings with local environmental organizations, the group discussed plastic pollution and its effects on eco-system degradation, public health, environmental justice and global awareness about these issues. In a top-line estimate, we have reached over 100,000 people in a combination of press conferences and media coverage.
In Central America, the plastic pollution problem has a key focus on plastic bottles, plastic bags and of course, single-use and disposable plastics. Yet we were so happy to discover a solution that is almost extinct in North America – refillable glass bottles. In talking with business owners we found out that refilling bottles is more economical as well.
We were happy to discover that small roadside restaurants serve food on metal platters, lined with palm leaves, and metal utensils. Beautiful, functional, reusable.
This visit is so important to the global movement to end plastic pollution, that we would like to share the details with you and the individual presentations. Press clippings and Spanish translations will be posted as they become available.
- Daniella Russo, Plastic Pollution Coalition – a general overview of the issue of plastic pollution as the nexus of eco-system degradation, public health, environmental justice and corporate responsibility. Resources: presentation in English | key points in English | key points in Spanish
- Wallace “J” Nichols, LiVBLUE – an overview of plastic pollution as a key threat to marine animals, and the environment. Resources: abstract in English | abstract in Spanish (coming soon)
- Nancy Buermeyer, Breast Cancer Fund – linkages between chemicals used in plastics and public health issues. Resources: full presentation in English | full presentation in Spanish | List of scientific references | BCF’s State of The Evidence Report.
- JD Russo, PPC Advisor – how to engage people, cutting through the wall of indifference and apathy Resources: abstract in English | abstract in Spanish
Partner organisations Jovenes Ambientalistas and Preserve Planet hosted the press conference at Auditorio del Centro del Conocimiento. Over 200 people came in to hear the message; to ask questions and to engage in a dialog about the issues and the solutions. At the conclusion of the press conference, Jovenes Ambientalistas announced a program with youth organizations to address the issues of plastic pollution. JD Russo was invited to speak at local schools. The event was covered by La Nacion, the leading publication in Nicaragua. We were truly impressed by the work of Jovenes Ambientalistas and Eco-clubes and plan to further collaborate and support their good efforts.
Partner organisation Preserve Planet hosted the press conference at Auditorio Nacional, Museo de los Niños. Again, over 200 people came to hear the talks. After the conclusion of our presentations we gave interviews to the local TV station: the leading newspaper La Nacion published a full page interview with J Nichols; hosted an hour-long live chat at La Nacion, and visited every radio station for interviews. The interest was great, with special focus on the report about little known pubic health impacts of chemicals used in plastic products. There were many questions about bio-plastics (pros and cons), and alternatives. We were excited to hear that Preserve Planetis planning on launching a campaign to raise awareness about plastic bottles. Just some of the press coverage in Costa Rica:
Newspapers: La Nacion (two times), La Republica, Tico Times, La Prensa Libre (full page); Magazines:Revista Perfil; TV: Channel 6 News, Channel 7 news, channel Extra tv 42 news, channel 15 Costa Rica University; And many alternative media outlets.
Partner organizations G22, SAVIA and Preserve Planet hosted the press conference at Teatro de la Cúpula in Guatemala City. So many were the attendees, that we invited them to sit on stage with us. The organizers put in a last-minute effort to provide simultaneous translatiors – the attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations. Like all other events, it was a terrific event, of discovery and connectedness with the global movement against plastic pollution. The questions were focused again on alternatives, bio-plastics, new products and learning more about the health impacts. Our Guatemalan hosts inspired us with their vision and true commitment to a lifestyle of environmental consciousness.
This is just a beginning of a great new connection for Plastic Pollution Coalition and we look forward to our next steps.
Please contact us (contact (at) plasticpollutioncoalition (dot) org) if you would like to be involved in our initiatives in Central America.
Many thanks for the Spanish translations offered courtesy of Evelyn Aguilar, Grupo IDIOMÁTICA de San José S.A.