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Dominican Republic: Cleaning up tourism

August 12, 2021

Tourism is big business in the Dominican Republic. But visitors leave a trail of trash in their wake. Can a new waste management initiative keep the Caribbean paradise clean?

Hotel resort, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic's resorts generate vast volumes of waste Image: Kata Döhne/DW

Plastic waste chokes surfers' paradise

So far this year, Dominican Republic has hosted 2.5 million tourists. But lots of tourists means lots of trash. An all-inclusive report with 1,000 beds gets through 1.2 million plastic bottles each year. And recycling facilities are virtually non-existent on the island.

There are more than 350 illegal dumps across the island, and ever more beaches are strewn with trash. This isn't just unsightly, it also releases CO2.

Waste dump, Dominican Republic
Garbage tips pollute land, water, and the atmosphere Image: Kata Döhne/DW

Worldwide, tourism is responsible for an estimated 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Which is why the UN Environment Programme's Transforming Tourism initiative is working to reduce the climate impact of tourism in ten countries.

In Dominican Republic, project manager Eddy Rosado works with the company Ecoservices to collect waste from hotel chains, recycle it, or export it to countries that can. And more and more hotels are getting involved.

Ecoservices sorts waste for recycling, Dominican Republic
Ecoservices sorts waste for recycling Image: Kata Döhne/DW

Project goal: Improved resource management, which includes better waste management, is expected to lead to more sustainable tourism in the long term and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Project budget: The project covers the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Mauritius, and the Philippines. with a total budget of around 5 million euros

Project partners: The project is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme, supported by the German Environment Ministry under the framework of the International Climate Initiative. It is implemented by organizations including the One Planet Network, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Dominican Republic's ministries of of Tourism and Natural Resources

Project duration: Januar 2017 to December 2022

Fim by Katja Döhne.