Two EARTH University students joined forces to promote improved waste management techniques in rural Guatemala.
Juana Suar Domínguez and Francely Flores (’20, Guatemala) – both on scholarship to EARTH thanks to the Mastercard Foundation – aim to construct a collection center where solid waste can be managed and monetized. In their country’s rural areas, most folks do not have the knowledge or resources to properly dispose of wastes. Typically, you will find them burying, sinking, street-littering or burning their garbage in large, pollutive open-air heaps.
In the town of Río Blanco, San Marcos (part of southwestern Guatemala), three tons of solid wastes are generated daily. Disturbed by this fact, Juana and Francely are proposing ways to add value to collected waste materials through the creation of new products.
To ensure their envisioned collection center and its many proposed services become reality, their initiative – called CHELSU – will establish direct communications with municipal representatives of Río Blanco and will conduct further research into the environmental challenges they face and the corrective measures they’ve attempted thus far. The duo also intends to acquire a strategic site for the construction of the center, which would employ locals to collect and classify waste products, manufacture new products made from said materials, and offer talks and trainings to popularize this innovative approach to waste management.
From the collected wastes, CHELSU will produce briquettes, glassware and organic fertilizers – all to be sold locally.
This project was born of a desire to advance several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty alleviation, health promotion, affordable energy access, improved sanitation, and respect for land and sea life.
Recently, the EARTH duo presented their project at Guatemala’s Best Eco-Innovator Award contest (sponsored by CARE4WASTE), which recognizes environmentally friendly products and services that propose innovative solutions to new and existing market needs.
EARTH University is proud to support students’ impactful efforts that contribute to sustainable development within their home countries.