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The Dominican Republic trade unions unite to reduce chemical risk.

CNUS , CNTD and CASC established a joint working group on the subject and got to work.

Over a year with the support of Sustainlabour conducted training activities across the country. More than 300 workers were trained including free trade zones workers, waste pickers, miners, metal workers, public workers, domestic workers or port and airport workers. For agricultural workers a specific campaign was launched to reduce and prevent the use of the most hazardous pesticides.

Unions also worked with informal waste pickers from Santiago, close to the city capital, to help them to reduce the risks from their work. In Dominican Republic almost all waste dumped in open landfills where scavengers earn a living at the expense of their health.

The unions submitted a report to the government that highlights the largest deficits in regulation and implementation of environmental and occupational health policies. Dominican population confront serious health problems and unions demanded a policy shift that truly address the scale of the problem and increase significantly the few resources dedicated to control and monitor companies’ compliance.

66% of the Dominican population recognize to live close to a source of contamination. Main factors of concern are the use of pesticides in agriculture, the use of mercury, primarily in artisanal gold mining , pollution of water and soil leachate from landfills, industrial sites pollution ( the industrial area Bajos de Haina is considered one of World’s 10 most polluted places).

Thanks to the involvement of workers who have received training real changes are taken place, from changes in companies’ ventilation systems, to substitution in substances in some workplaces.

The project was made possible by the support of Sustainlabour and TUCA, Trade Union Confederation of the Americas.

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