Costa Rica Has Banned Styrofoam — A Major Win for the Environment
Why Global Citizens Should Care
Costa Rica has rolled out many revolutionary environmental policies in the last decade making it a leader in fighting climate change and pollution. In 2010, Costa Rica pledged to become the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2021, and as of 2018, 73.8% of Costa Rica’s electricity was generated through hydroelectric plants, while the remaining energy was sourced from wind, geothermal energy, biomass and solar energy. The United Nations’ Global Goals call on countries to create sustainable economies and protect the environment and Costa Rica is surely leading the way. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.
After rolling out a national strategy to drastically reduce plastic use by 2021 last year, Costa Rica is now taking its environmental protection efforts a step further by banning the use of styrofoam containers.
The new legislation, signed on Thursday, prohibits the import, marketing, and distribution of polystyrene containers — commonly referred to as styrofoam — throughout the country.
The legislation will go into effect in 24 months after it is officially published in the government newsletter, La Gaceta. The legislation is now awaiting President Carlos Alvarado’s signature, and then will be sent to the national printer for publication in La Gaceta.
Fines for violations range from $763 (446,200Costa Rican Colon) to $7,629 (4.46 million Costa Rican Colon). The government is required to aid companies in adapting to environmentally friendly containers before the law is fully enforced.
“This initiative is a giant step for public health, the environment, and the economy of the country because styrofoam generates great pollution,” said legislator Paola Vega.
Plastic is a major environmental pollutant in Costa Rica which accounts for only 0.03% of the earth’s surface but contains 6% of the world’s biodiversity. To preserve one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, plastic waste and other forms of pollution have to be controlled and kept in check.