26 October 2018 - Guatemala has announced a commitment to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans as part of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP, or UN Environment) Clean Seas Campaign. Guatemala will stop plastics from entering the ocean by installing bio-fences in its rivers to recover plastic debris.
Guatemala’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Alfonso Alonzo announced his government’s commitment at the 21st Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9-12 October 2018. He said Guatemala is “actively fighting plastic pollution through innovation and community participation” as part of an effort to preserve healthy oceans for future generations.
Guatemala pledged to increase waste collection in its rivers through deploying artisanal bio-fences that are made from recovered plastic debris and installed in rivers across the country to trap and collect plastic waste. The fence nets catch the plastic waste, making it easier for communities to recycle or dispose of it properly. The El Quetzalito community, located near the mouth of Guatemala’s Motagua river, which flows to the Caribbean Sea, was a pioneer in using bio-fences. Through the deployment of bio-fences, community residents have generated additional income through recycling and upcycling.
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