The areas where El Lustrador is working in Guatemala are located in the vicinity of Motagua River (Río Motagua). The Motagua River basin covers an area of 12,670 square kilometres (4,890 sq mi) and is the largest in Guatemala. Not only does the river serve as an important reservoir for people, it is one of the most important habitats for many animal species, some are endemic to Guatemala.
However, this beautiful river is severely threatened by human development. In recent years, Motagua River has turned into a river of plastic. The ever increasing pressure on the river has tons of domestic and industrial waste and sewage from urban and rural communities that go right into the river, affecting people's ability to fish and provide for their families, harming wildlife in the surrounding areas, and eventually hurting the tourism industry many people are dependent upon.
A section of Motagua River covered in trash (image from oceanographicmagazine.com)
There is a lot to be done to address this problem. In 2016 our founder René Corado worked to bring this issue to the attention of the Guatemalan government, including the president Jimmy Morales. He also met with local government institutions and local medias (for example, giving a talk to several tv and radio channels) to bring attention to the problems of Motagua River.
It will take cooperation and teamwork from the government, non-profits, businesses and the consumers to reduce the use of plastics that end up in the river.
However, one of the most fundamental actions starts from grassroots level. The people who live near the river and their livelihood are dependent on it should have the first voice and work together as communities to reduce plastic pollution in the river. El Lustrador focuses on environmental awareness for local community and school children from villages in the Municipality of Morazán.
Motagua River clean-up with local students in Morazán municipality.