In Guatemala, a small town came together three years ago with one objective: cease its use of plastic. In 2019, they’ve fully accomplished that mighty goal.
The town of San Pedro La Laguna, located in the western department of Sololá, has totally given up its use of plastic bags, straws and durables, replacing these items with more environmentally friendly alternatives like banana leaves, baskets or woven napkins.
The community of 10,000 people decided to forgo the use of plastic in 2016, when the municipal government began mandating all visitors to avoid the use of plastic goods. The measure was in large part aimed at preserving Lake Atitlán, a body of water in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range that had in recent years become a dump with poor water quality.
Three years after the community-wide plastic-free initiative, the people of San Pedro La Laguna are witnessing the positive results of their eco decision. According to Naturaleza Gurú, in just three years, pollution in the lake has dropped, with plastic waste in particular down 90%.
For environmental justice activists in other countries, the town’s accomplishment has become an example of a different reality and a source of inspiration.
“The willpower and responsibility of the inhabitants of this town shows humanity that the famous phrase ‘to want is power’ applies to all effects, including caring for and maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment,” writes Sheila Moreno for the Spain-based environmental news site.
Here’s hoping more communities will turn that inspiration into action.