The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Dominican Republic:
- Public Security
The most recent travel advisory, issued on April 15, 2019, noted, “Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic.” Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag-snatching, occurs throughout the country. Violent crime against foreigners, including assault, occurs occasionally. Credit card and ATM fraud and cloning are other significant concerns.
Three recent incidents involving U.S. tourists are putting the Dominican Republic in the headlines. Two of them are of the Maryland couple’s death, that came just two days after Tammy Lawrence-Daley of Wilmington, Delaware, said she had been nearly beaten to death in January while taking pictures during her second night at Punta Cana’s Majestic Elegance Resort by an attacker wearing a hotel uniform who dragged her to a basement maintenance room.
- Road Safety
The Dominican Republic has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. The Dominican Republic ranked fifth worst in the world in road deaths per capita in 2016, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Status report. Most roads, including major highways, are poorly maintained and poorly lit. Marked lanes are lacking. Drivers do not respect traffic laws. They often drive at excessive speeds, and are extremely aggressive and reckless. There have also been cases of vehicles travelling in the wrong direction. Traffic is congested due to the significant number of trucks and motorcycles. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, even at traffic lights.
Most of the Dominican criminal justice system’s senior civil servants are political appointees who demonstrate an ironclad loyalty to the PLD and to Dominican President Danilo Medina. Judges aligned with the PLD generally deliver benevolent rulings to government officials and their associates, regardless of the crime. The greater the influence a criminal has within the PLD, the slimmer the probabilities are for achieving true justice and accountability against that criminal.
Further, the Odebrecht corruption scheme, one the largest, most wide-reaching corruption cases perpetrated by a construction company in the history of the world, has been deliberately mishandled by Dominican judicial and political authorities. No Dominican government official is currently in prison for this global-scale corruption case.
More than 60% of the produced drinking water is lost in the distribution network (7-8000 km pipeline). In terms of wastewater, investments of $156.8 million have been made, but much work remains to be done. More than 70% of wastewater is not treated at all and rivers are polluted. Further, as an island state the Dominican Republic is increasingly exposed to extreme weather, from flooding to droughts.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) labels the electricity system’s deficiencies in the Dominican Republic as severe and represent that as one of the main structural hurdles to the country’s growth. The country relies heavily on imported fossil fuels—including fuel oil, natural gas, and coal—for electric power, but in recent years it has put a priority on generating more of its electricity needs from renewable sources.