EFEBy Héctor Pereira Caracas

A group of university students in Venezuela has launched "Protect Paradise," an initiative to remove recyclable waste to clean some 2,000 kilometers of coastline that belong to the Caribbean country.

Just over a day, six tons of plastic bottles, lids, deodorant containers, and other waste have been picked up at beaches by this group of volunteers who are convinced of the importance of their task.

Lustay Franco is a volunteer who took part in the first meeting where volunteers collected some 12 tons of waste at Falcón beaches.

“Let’s start using the importance of the environment in our everyday narratives,” Franco told Efe.

“There is a lot of things we have to start talking about.”

Franco said that the climate emergency has to become a priority in Venezuela, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world which, at the same time, has one of the world's largest oil reserves and minimum resources dedicated to conservation.

Being present on social media has helped the project in different ways.

The number of registered volunteers have been growing week after week and planned actions have multiplied through Venezuela.

Javier Colmenares, 20, is one of those enthusiasts who looked for a black shirt, traveled 60 kilometers by bus, put on sunscreen and arrived at the so-called Pelúa Beach in search of recyclable waste.

"What we have found is mostly plastic, deodorant, and shampoo containers, and flip flops," Colmenares said.

The amount of waste these volunteers find "hurts a lot,” he added.

“Protect Paradise" gives conferences to citizens to "raise awareness" about the importance of recycling waste in a proper way.

The company “Multirecicla” was born three years ago.

It is a pioneer company in the country that offers a free service of collecting recyclable waste in the five municipalities of Caracas.

After collecting the waste, the company classifies, breaks and compacts it so they can have a second life.

The goal of “Multirecicla,” is that “I can guarantee that the waste which citizens put into ours recycling bins (...) is transformed and the circular economy is completed (...),” president of Multirecicla Édgar Grossman told Efe.

“The objective is that waste doesn’t pollute and, once has become raw material, can be transformed into a new product.”

Everyday "Multirecicla" unloads some ten trucks with great amounts of plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, and aluminum that are transformed into raw material due to a transformation process.

Grossman, 52, explains that the business is not a profitable one, and insists on the need to educate citizens in recycling.

The company collects the garbage from bars, schools, and residential areas and plans to extend its services to the 23 states of Venezuela.

Multireclicla is strengthening its alliance with Protect Paradise “to join more volunteers who are committed with the beach cleaning” and seeks more environmental lovers that are needed for this work.

The main goal of these initiatives is “thinking about the next generations” and build a retaining wall that can prevent an environmental disaster that Grossman and volunteers from “Protect Paradise” consider inevitable. EFE

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