Santa Marta, Colombia, Becomes Program’s 7th Location

February 19, 2021 – Malibu, California – Plastic Oceans International (POI) announces  the addition of Tras La Perla – a nonprofit organization founded by Colombian music star Carlos Vives – to its BlueCommunities initiative.

Launched in January of 2021, BlueCommunities is a global network of environmentally-focused organizations founded on the belief that we can, and must, act within our local communities to inspire change on a global scale. Through supporting local partners and their projects, POI’s goal is to firmly establish the building blocks needed for creating socioeconomic and environmental change that benefits the entire planet.

Carlos Vives

Carlos Vives.

“These initiatives, even if they are local and small, can inspire people all over the planet,” said Vives, a multi grammy award-winning singer who has sold over 200 million records worldwide. “Through BlueCommunities, we can be amplifiers of local voices and needs, and can collaborate to help regenerate Santa Marta and the indigenous culture of our Sierra Nevada region.”

Created in 2015, Tras La Perla promotes sustainable development by collaborating with various public and private partners, including the indigenous Arhuaco people, whose community has seen an influx of unwanted waste, such as plastic pollution. 

“Carlos and his team are welcome additions to what we are trying to create with BlueCommunities,” said Mark Minneboo, POI’s Regional Director for Latin America. “The Santa Marta region contains the highest coastal mountain range in the world, which is an ecosystem of vital importance for the biodiversity and natural balance of the entire planet. In the end, we are all connected … one planet, one ecosystem, one community … and Tras Las Perla’s work embodies this perfectly.”

Carlos Vives in the Arhuaca community

Carlos enjoying some music during a visit to the Arhuaco indigenous community.

Specific projects that POI will support include reducing plastic pollution and other waste within the Arhuaco indigenous community, through ongoing training in waste management techniques; in addition to the conservation of La Cienega Grande, the largest lagoon in Colombia and home to one of the most important mangrove ecosystems in South America – a system that has lost more than 25,000 hectares to deforestation over the past 50 years.  

BlueCommunities is an expanding initiative, that includes locations in Campeche, Mexico; Chiloé Island, Chile; Detroit, USA; Durban, South Africa; Easter Island; and Kerala, India.  Soon-to-launch are locations and partners in Hawaii; The Galapagos Islands; Papua New Guinea; Douala, Cameroon; Mallorca, Spain; and The Bahamas. To learn more about this global network, visit 

About Plastic Oceans International

A US-based non-profit organization working to end plastic pollution and to foster sustainable communities worldwide. We operate with the belief that we can and must act locally in order to create change globally, and we do so through the power of film to empower and globalize community actions. In addition to their global entity, Plastic Oceans has branches in Canada, Chile, Mexico, Europe and the Great Lakes region of the U.S.

About Tras La Perla

Tras la Perla is a non-profit initiative, founded and directed by the Colombian artist Carlos Vives, whose objective is to revive the city of Santa Marta and its areas of influence. They promote sustainable development by convening different public and private actors, managing resources according to identified needs and formulating successful and sustainable solutions with the active participation of communities.