Solid waste, Orlando’s dream

In December 2021, the government of President Luis Abinader launched the Public-Private Trust for Comprehensive Waste Management, headed by Armando Paíno Henríquez, a fundamental instrument to comprehensively, gradually and sustainably solve the problem posed by waste management in the Dominican Republic.

This is one of the most fundamental objectives of the late Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, who stated at that time that the trust would resolve the inadequate management of solid waste, perhaps the main environmental challenge in our country, this time, with a focus on resource efficiency, transparency and permanent accountability.

Orlando said verbatim: “This day is historic in the Dominican Republic. For the first time, the Dominican State fully assumes to face one of the most serious environmental problems that occurs in the light of all Dominicans: open-air dumps, which are practically in the entire national territory, with the consequences to health, to environmental pollution both on land and in rivers and in the sea”.

The enactment of the Comprehensive Management and Co-processing of Solid Waste Law created the trust to seek a solution to the issue of “garbage” in a sustainable and committed way, in the words of Orlando himself in a speech a few months ago, “within the framework of a global and long-term vision that responds to the needs and circumstances of the different municipalities and provinces of the country”.

In March of this year, the minister considered essential the unity of the mayors, the central government and the private sector to effectively face the fight against the open-air dumps that exist in the country, announcing that by January the dumps had intervened of 29 strategic municipalities in the country, including tourist areas such as Puerto Plata, Samaná and the Eastern region, as well as other places where a lot of waste is produced such as the province of Santo Domingo, Santiago and La Vega, with the aim of moving towards the necessary elimination of the 358 open-air dumps in the country.

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“That will be our main objective – the landfills – now with the application of the Waste Law, with the implementation of the public-private trust, our commitment is to mark the before and after in this year 2022 in that matter,” he said. . Now that he is gone, his legacy looks more alive than ever, and the responsibility remains with us to preserve the most fundamental points of his work as a minister.

From now on, the news is encouraging: President Abinader has provisionally appointed Vice President Raquel Peña, which we are sure will do an excellent job. Waste and its proper treatment are among them, so continuing to strengthen the work already started is our duty as servants, but also part of a moral commitment and an act of justice for those who are no longer there.

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