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Is Costa Rica Going To Be The First Plastic-Free & Carbon-Free Country By 2021?

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by Conscious Reminder

The country of Costa Rica is actually one of the five countries worldwide which is the leader in the use of renewable resources. Although it is a small country, it has an enormous effect when it comes to the environment.

Since the year 2014, the energy of the country was mainly coming from 99% renewable resources, and it is now running on totally 100% renewable power for about more than two times in the past two years.

Since June of 2017, the country set its intentions of eliminating single-use plastics by somewhere in 2021, and it was prepared to be the first one in the entire world which is going to do that. During the summertime of 2018, Costa Rica revealed some plans about becoming entirely carbon-free by the same year mentioned before, 2021, and with this, it was also prepared to be the first one in the entire world which is going to do that. These are impressive plans for such a small country.

Image: Christine Figgener

Image: Christine Figgener

“With its rich biodiversity, Costa Rica has also demonstrated far-sighted environmental leadership by pursuing reforestation, designating a third of the country protected natural reserves, and deriving almost all of its electricity from clean hydropower.” – Stiglitz

Somewhere in the 1980s, its government was sure that its nature is the main and best asset of the country, and as a result of that, from then until now, it made great efforts in order to protect that nature: that included closing zoos, reforestation, as well as establishing secure and protected areas, counting about 25% or more of the entire surface area of Costa Rica.

“Basing (electricity) generation on renewable resources allows the country to achieve one of the lowest ratios of greenhouse gas emissions to electrical consumption on the planet.” – The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE)

During the last four or more years, the country generated every but 1% of the electricity from some renewable source, which meant using volcanoes, rivers, as well as solar powers and winds. One hydroelectric plant which is placed on the Reventazon River on the Caribbean slope started its operations in the year 2016, so now it may be the biggest one of that kind situated in Central America.

Despite that plant, Costa Rica is known to possess seven wind turbine plants, as well as six hydroelectric plants and just one solar plant. One statement by ICE has shown that just ¾ of the renewable energy was from hydroelectric plants that used the water from rivers, while the rest of it was wind and geothermal power. As the biomass follows it, the solar power was with the lowest percentage.

The dilemma surrounding plastics came after that. In 2017, during the World Environment Day, Costa Rica also announced the newly planned act of eliminating single-use plastic by the year 2021. So, from that day on, the country suggested that some other alternatives which are 100% biodegradable and recyclable and also not based on petroleum, should replace plastics. Costa Rica also gained financial and technical support from the United Nations Development Program, which helped in achieving all that.

Image: Environmental Protection Authority, Victoria

Image: Environmental Protection Authority, Victoria

Earlier in the last year, a person named Carlos Alvarado Quesada has been elected as the new president of the country, and the first act he took was about the issues with carbonization. At the time of the inauguration, Quesada revealed his plans of banning fossil fuels, as well as becoming the primary decarbonized society in the whole world. He said the following:

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation, and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”

Quesada admitted that it would be tough to create a carbon-neutral society, but he was really confident about achieving something else. He really hoped that the country will release itself of fossil fuels which were produced by the system of transportation, also predicted to be done until 2021.

“When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate…that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation.”

Even though a small country, Costa Rica was really successful in making enormous impressions in the entire world, particularly in environmentalism. However, this was all for the well-being, as well as the health of the citizens in the country.


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