Another blow against trash, waste and pollution in Bocas!

in ecology •  5 months ago

Plastic straws, plastic and polystyrene foam

trays BANNED in Bocas del Toro!


Eearlier this year I wrote a post about the Plastic Bag Ban in Bocas del Toro, the beautiful archipielago in the Caribbean side of Panama where we live.
I am currently part of the Environmental Committee of the Social Civil Group in Bocas, and also an active member of the Cero Basura Group which I feel very proud of.
It is thanks to the Cero Basura Group efforts that we have accomplished these initiatives, but also thanks to all the people, business owners and locals that have been supporting the new Municipal laws.

But what does the Cero Basura Group do?

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We are an alliance of environmental organizations and volunteers from the civil society that work together with the little time and resources we have to improve the waste management in our town. Anyone can be part of it and participate.

Our group is conformed by: Fundación ProMar, Sea Turtle Conservancy, [School for Field Studies], Municipality of Bocas del Toro, Alianza Bocas, Habla Ya Spanish Schools, and volunteers from our society.

New law gets approved!

In our country, the one that approves new local agreements or laws, is the Municipal Council which is conformed by local district representatives. The Mayor then has to sign the new agreement approved to be submitted to the Official Gazette of the Republic of Panama, which is the official newspaper of the Government of the Republic of Panama.

In January 2017 the Municipal Council approved the local law of prohibiting for all food and drink establishments, the prohibition of straws, stirrers and trays made of plastic for single use, and foam trays.
However, we knew we needed to eliminate them completely, even for takeaway Leaders of the group with the help of the Municipality administration managed to propose also the approval of the ban of plastic and polystyrene foam takeaway containers.

Luckily in July 18, the Municipal Council of Bocas del Toro, approved this new agreement and the measure begun to take effect this September 1st of 2018.
You can find the law down below this post, is in Spanish.

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Reduce: When purchasing goods, always think about not consuming more than you actually need in order to produce less trash.

We hope someday we will not see these any more in the streets nor the sea:


Polystyrene is a petroleum-based lightweight plastic made from styrene, a synthetic chemical classified as a possible human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer; and benzene, a known human carcinogen according to the EPA. It is about 95 percent air and commonly used to make disposable beverage containers, coolers, meat and fish trays in supermarkets, packaging materials, and take-out food containers. You may see the number 6 surrounded by a recycling symbol or the letters “PS” on products made of polystyrene.

What is happening in town already?

I am very happy to say that many businesses have already taken action and did not wait until September to start making a change. I always like to go into town, visit veggie stores and businesses to talk about new regulations and even ideas to implement towards the care of our environment.

Here are some pictures of local restaurants that have already implemented changes:

This is Jorge from Cafe del Mar who is no longer using plastic straws and uses reusable made of silicone, for takeaways they use aluminum and paper bags:

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This is the lady that works at the German Bakery, they now use cups made of cardboard and straws made of paper:

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This is a lady that works in one of the best local restaurants call Buena Vista, they are now using metal straws:

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Congratulation to the crew of Capitan Caribe Restaurant, they use straws made of wood!

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More and more people are uniting forces to help reduce waste that pollutes our environment. It is very fulfilling to see we can make a positive change instead of sitting and wait for others to do it someday.

What is an important obstacle for us?

We are currently trying to recruit more people that could help us from an educational aspect. We have to work more hand to hand with the educational entities of the government and teach the kids about environmental issues, they are the future.

It is not easy, since the local government doesn't have enough resources and some of their workers don't do their job properly, sometimes we have to rely on help from community groups. But step by step we are trying to fix this issue.

Education is the key for the evolution of a responsible society.

On the other hand, we always have those humans with a narrow mind that don't like the change and cause of a selfish behavior dont care what needs to be done. We will have complaints, but good thing is that there is no excuse to use substitutes for example, there are already many providers available, for example I know of one that has containers made of sugar cane which are biodegradable.

Recycle: Before throwing something in the trash, research about about how you can recycle or even reuse it productively.

Once again, I feel very proud of what we have done so far. There are good ideas we have in mind to keep making things better for our environment from a local point. More to come!

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I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you know of a social environmental group in the community where you live, do not hesitate to bring your help and participation in them. We all share together this home we call Planet Earth.


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This is great news! The entire planet needs to ban plastic ASAP! I would love to have you on my @msp-waves show on any Monday 4PM EST.

Upvoted from the whaleshares show!


thank you @crystalpacheco30 for always supporting!

This is a wonderful initiative! We only have one Mother Earth, and we need to be more careful to use biodegradable resources! Bravo!


thank you so much!

Wow :) My sis also has a metal straw in her handbag all the time :D She's working in local bar and she almost got fired as she refuses to give people straws to their drinks :D She always ask them if they want it and want to pollute environment........and they feel under pressure and say no :D Resteeming this!

Amazing news. Way to go Panama! :)

Sounds like you are making progress. Less trash the better.

Your post has been read and you did great! You received a 10.0% upvote from us for your post with the ecology tag since you are not yet a member of the geopolis community.
You are always welcome to join us and get more recognition for your posts. You can find more information about geopolis here or join our Discord server.

Just listening to you on @pennsif show! This is great how in latin america the communities are more alive and can embrace changes like this one ! I Pray for it to last and grow into something even greater! Great job well done! Ask you grandparents how they did.. a good idea.. connect with the roots! Bless