Costa Rica “turns out” to be an ultra-polluting country and its inhabitants collect 30 tons of plastic in eight hours!

Thirty tons of plastic collected in only eight hours. The star of the new Guinness World Record was the small nation of Costa Rica, a Central American state overlooking the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea: last December 7, its residents managed to achieve this astounding record (snatching the record from India, the previous holder, which had reached the sum of 23 tons in the same time frame). After being collected, the huge amount of plastic was weighed using electronic scales, and to ensure the transparency of the operation, the entire process was filmed.

On the one hand, there is the beautiful example, showing us that it is still possible, by rolling up our sleeves and mobilizing en masse, to safeguard our planet. On the other is the alarm over the level of environmental pollution achieved, especially from plastics.

Despite its small size, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimates that Costa Rica ranks third in the world in plastics production. Of the 550 tons produced daily, however, only 9 percent is destined for recycling, compared to 91 percent that is dispersed into the nation’s waters and lands: lands that are home to more than half a million animal species, representing 4 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, in only 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface. A corner of paradise on earth, threatened by human negligence.

These are the data that led to the mobilization of the Ecolones Association, a digital platform established the previous spring with the aim of incentivizing recycling works in exchange for virtual money or credits. As the association’s own director, Karla Chaves, put it, “This is the result of extensive work and close cooperation between allies, public and private, concerned about proper waste management.” In fact, the gesture was directly supported by the Ministries of Health, Environment and Energy, which additionally declared that they would eliminate all single-use plastics by 2021, progressively replacing them with biodegradable materials.

In a joint statement, the ministers who took part in the initiative said: “It will not be easy, and the government will not be able to operate alone….it will require the leadership and participation of everyone: women, men, boys and girls.” An ambitious goal but one that could mark a definitive turning point in the country’s ecosystem, making Costa Rica a model for environmental protection to emulate. Let’s take a cue!

Elettra Poggi


Time to Take Action is the slogan of Medplastic, the project of the Journal of Sailing and Powerboats to safeguard the Mediterranean. Join the MedPlastic Team Facebook group, there you can post news, projects, photodenunciations, videos. In addition, if you have structured projects to propose that you think would be useful to the “cause,” please send an email to




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