Reduction of plastics. On May 17, the Central American Integration System (SICA in Spanish) published a proposal for the formulation of a regional roadmap to guide Central America towards becoming a plastic-free region. The roadmap will apply to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize and the Dominican Republic as member countries of the entity, and will be focused on developing proposals for amendments to update existing laws on the regulation of plastics in addition to providing incentives to private companies that collaborate with the reduction of the use of this material. It is estimated that the term to define the feasibility and the basis of the roadmap will be one year.
The first stage of the roadmap contemplates a cleanup of plastic debris from the Caribbean coasts of the Pacific, to then move on to a phase of cleanup of the coasts of the Caribbean Sea. Finally, it contemplates the cleanup of bodies of water in the interior of the member countries. The project also provides for a development fund to grant subsidies to companies involved in research and innovation of plastic-free products. The fund will also provide loans and credit for innovation to participating companies.
At the state level, the draft roadmap contemplates changes in the regulatory frameworks of the SICA nations involved, with the establishment of national strategies, agendas and plans aligned with the goal of reducing plastics in water bodies. It also contemplates the creation or reform of governance structures or public bodies so that they are aligned with the tasks and purposes outlined in the roadmap.
The exercise will be led by a General Coordinator who will be based at the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT in Spanish) of Panama and will have an advisory steering group composed of representatives from the General Secretariat of SICA, the Central American University Superior Council (CSUCA in Spanish) and the Commission for the Scientific and Technological Development of Central America and Panama (CTCAP in Spanish).
Once the roadmap is defined, it will guide national governments and regional organizations, in particular the Central American Commission for Science and Technology (CTCAP), and the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in the adoption of policies and actions to address plastic pollution in bodies of water, as well as establish the basis for reforms to existing regulations governing plastics.
Opportunity for engagement
Once the roadmap is implemented at the national level in each member country, McDonald’s will be able to participate in innovation projects that provide grants, credits and loans to companies in order to operate with plastic-free products.