Global Courant 2023-05-19 11:05:10
Laudable is the megaproject undertaken by the organization The Ocean Cleanup, at the initiative of its founder, Boyan Slat, to install a mega-fence in Chinautla to retain a colossal amount of plastic waste dragged by the Las Vacas river. This is the second attempt to place such a device. The first occurred almost a year ago, last June, but it did not withstand the onslaught of the flood of garbage. This time, more robust anchors are cast, both in the river bed and on its banks, so that the gigantic strainer resists winter floods, which generally carry waste from various feeder basins, including the ravine where the so-called sanitary landfill is located. municipality of zone 3.
It is a cyclopean effort, not to say utopian. The underlying problem is not how much weight the bases of the Interceptor 006 barricade can withstand, but how long effective legal and governmental measures can be implemented to curb the misdisposal of waste, which begins with the harmful attitude of throwing containers of all kinds from windows of buses and other vehicles.
There are practices, unfortunately daily, that must be combated. Among them are clandestine dumps in vacant lots, hillsides or near markets; the abandonment of garbage bags on the streets and sidewalks to avoid paying for the collection service, as well as the lack of waste classification, which remains unimplemented despite only three months to go before the government agreement issued two years ago enters into force. There are exemplary efforts by volunteer groups offering free online courses and promoting cleanup activities, in order to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem.
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There are also entities such as the Instituto de Recreación de los Trabajadores de Guatemala, Cementos Progreso, Fundesa, Pepsico, Cervecería Centro Americana, Fundación Crecer or Recicla.gt, among many others, that have implemented successful materials collection and reuse systems. These efforts comprise part of the solution, but a broad and sustained educational, multimedia, intersectoral and intercultural campaign is still required, at all levels, to generate personal and family attitudes prone to protecting the environment through the correct disposal of waste, not both out of fear of a sanction, but as a civic act of integrity.
The Motagua has been called, to national shame, the most polluted river in the world. It may be, it may not. It doesn’t really matter where you rank on any unwanted list; the important thing is to get out of categories of this type. And it is not the only polluted river in the country. When passing through the exits of departmental capitals and urban centers, it is usual to come across streams, pristine just four decades ago, turned into sewers and dumps.
The communities demand a better supply of drinking water, especially in electoral times. However, very few mayoral candidates talk about the problem of garbage and drains, nor do they raise how they are going to clean up the sources of the liquid. The same can be said of successive executive mandates, which were not interested in the issue until a neighboring state warned of suing the country for polluting its coasts. The unfortunate thing is that international volunteers are the ones who assume the task of carrying out tasks that the authorities have not been able to or have not wanted to carry out in favor of the environment.