So far we have observed 3 main ways plastic and other non-organic materials get into the environment in the Dão valley:
1. Dump sites along roads or a ways into the forest or shrub-land where the 'dumper' cannot be seen. Our observation is that most dump piles are made up of waste materials of construction sites which means that many contractors have a habit of getting rid of their left-over materials this way.
2. Plastic ribbons used for organized outdoor sports activities such as hiking, cycling, motorbikes and quads. Some organizers (associations and municipalities) take the responsibility to remove the ribbons afterwards but many don't. The plastic disintegrates and ends up in the environment in little pieces that become part of the soil, are washed into the waterways (and eventually also the ocean) and are even picked up by the wind and, as they brake down in smaller and smaller pieces, become part of the air we breathe.
3. Disintegrating Agricultural Plastics are everywhere as soon as we enter the cultivated lands in the Dão valley. Rope, tarps, bags, bins, tools etc. left behind when broken and turn to little plastic bits and dust by the unforgiving UV rays of the sun.
As in many other places much work such as education, laws and inspirational alternatives, needs to be done to get rid of this problem.