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Race for Water – Review of hopeful stopover in the Dominican Republic

by Race For Water on 16 Sep 2017
Race for Water – Review of hopeful stopover in the Dominican Republic Media Race for Water
The Dominican Republic, another one ticked off! After over two highly emotional weeks moored in the military port of Santo Domingo, the autonomous vessel powered by 100% solar-hydrogen energy is back at sea, bound for Guadeloupe, where her ETA is around 19 September.

We get the low-down on the highlights of this latest stopover, which was made up of on-the-ground surveys on the various waste management networks, conferences, meetings, workshops and school visits. We also discuss the problem of plastic waste in the Dominican Republic and the passage of hurricane Irma. Review in texts and images.

On 23 August 2017, the Race for Water vessel tied up to the dock in the military port of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Thanks to the precious support of the Dominican navy, the Swiss Embassy and the Dominican-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Race for Water Odyssey team has been able to perform a number of missions on the ground together with an investigative survey to understand the waste management network put in place on the island.

Of course, it was a stopover intersected by the passage of hurricane Irma, of which the Race for Water Odyssey team can but lament the human loss, local damage and environmental disaster. It’s an irrefutable fact that the growing plastic pollution can but paint a black picture of the situation, with, in the case of the Dominican Republic, a production of some 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste a year.

The Odyssée de l’Espoir (Odyssey of Hope), in addition to participating in and organising conferences in order to open discussions with the public, is also carrying out on-the-ground surveys in order to understand what waste management is all about in the regions visited. The Foundation tries to introduce solutions for such situations, which are often both extreme and complex, but always towards the same goal : the preservation of our oceans.

Conferences: Pretty much immediately after making landfall in the Dominican Republic, the Race for Water Odyssey found itself at the heart of the conference “Think Innovation: waste & energy for sustainability”. Featuring over 150 experts, this conference cycle is organised each year in Santo Domingo through the Dominican-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and gathers together an audience of local and international specialists from the world of energy and new technologies. Read more here.

A military and security reception: During this stopover, the Race for Water vessel was kindly invited to moor in the military port of Santo Domingo. Under the direction of the General Commander Sr. Miguel Pena Acosta, a warm welcome was provided thanks to the kindness of Lieutenant Aneudi Villaneuva, who was dispatched specially for the Race for Water Foundation. Read more here.

Investigation: the waste managment network
“The military port of Santo Domingo is located where the city’s two rivers empty into the oceans, explains Camille Rollin. During the heavy rain, we rapidly observed that the large pile of waste flooding towards the sea was increasing considerably.” That was enough to prompt part of the team to head off up the River Ozama, so as to punch against the current and carry out its survey. Read more here.

Dominican Republic: more than 100 schoolchildren on board
During this stopover, over 100 students visited the vessel to talk about the problem of plastics and the preservation of the oceans. And when hurricane Irma turned the programme upside down and prevented certain schools from climbing aboard, the Foundation went to them. In this way, Camille Rollin and Frédéric Sciacca headed over to Las Terrenas in the north of the country where the vessel was supposed to spend the last week of its stopover. Read more here.

'Plastic waste to energy' workshop in the middle of a major crisis
At each stopover, the “Plastic waste to energy” workshop organised aboard the Race for Water vessel gathered together the local protagonists involved in waste and energy management. “In Santo Domingo, our workshop took place during a major crisis in the city’s waste management system. The main landfill of the city of Santo Domingo was blocked by its managers, who suddenly decided to increase the cost of access to the bin lorries, preventing them from accessing the site. The government had to intervene and a trial is underway”, explains Camille Rollin. “Discussions have been heated as a result as it’s a thorny subject for the locals in the Dominican Republic”. Read more here.

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