Country drowning in plastic, but a cleanup is possible

I am writing today in the hope that you will publish this letter. For months now I have noticed the drainage ditches and roadways of Costa Rica are getting worse. Clearly there is a sector of the local community that has no environmental concern whatsoever. It baffles the mind, how someone could simply throw trash out of a moving vehicle, especially when it is not biodegradable. Who are these people? If only we could catch them and subject them to a series of physiological tests to determine how they think, then reprogram them.

The greatest threat to Costa Rica is not the mosquito, it is PLASTIC. Plastic is quite simply destroying this country. I am often confused by people who write articles about the natural beauty of Costa Rica but completely fail to address the trash on the roads. Of course, when tourists venture into the jungles, away from people, it is beautiful. However the streets and highways are a complete mess, and one must use the roads to get anywhere.

I have been fortunate to have travelled all over this world in my 50-plus years and have never been to a dirtier place. Even the streets of Lebanon, Malaysia and the Philippines were far cleaner than Costa Rica. Worse is when I speak to my friends, about the growing plastic problem, many of whom are Ticos, they do not notice the trash, and are perplexed as to why I am so concerned about the pollution. I guess after decades of being exposed to the mountain of plastic trash, they become blind to the problem.

I have often grabbed a few bags, put on my gloves, and walked my neighborhood to collect the plastic trash along the roadway. The effect has been both substantial and immediate.

Would you consider the possibility of having your reporters write a few articles about the growing plastic trash problem in Costa Rica? Hopefully this will encourage your readers to band together to organize cleaning events in their respective neighborhoods. Hopefully the locals will see what the expats in Costa Rica are trying to do and lend a helping hand. One plastic bottled removed from the street, means we are one step closer to preventing the oceans and rivers from suffering more destruction, caused by careless humans, who lack the education or willingness to make a difference.

If any of your readers who live close to the zoo in Alajuela are concerned about the trash and want to make a difference, by all means please have them write me ( so that we can organize a cleanup one Saturday morning in that area. Sacrifice a few hours on ones life to help Costa Rica’s environment would be time well spent.
David Lema

EDITOR’S NOTE; An environmental organization with similar concerns had erected a wave of plastic bottles in the traffic island on Avenida 10 just east of Parque la Sabana.

This entry was posted in Reader Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.