It should be every child’s right to attend primary school. It should also be every persons right to live in a clean community uncontaminated by trash that affects crops, local water supply and air quality. Unfortunately in Guatemala, the majority of citizens do not enjoy these rights. Most children do not advance past primary school, and increasingly, non-biodegradable trash litters roads, rivers and lakes, leaving individuals no choice but to burn it, causing damage to personal health, air quality and contributing to global warming.
An innovative and remarkable new initiative that has taken root in Guatemala for the past several years is beginning to spread. In an effort to find a solution to both issues, we have one: build a school out of trash.
|Department San Marcos|
The building requires approximately 6,000 plastic bottles filled with non-biodegradable trash (i.e. plastic bags, etc), to serve as insulation in the walls. Called “eco-bricks,” the bottles do not actually provide structural support, but are supported by chicken wire, plaster, and finally cement. When the building is complete, one cannot tell that inside the walls are thousands of plastic bottles!
Quipambe's 4th grade class participating in the bottle-collection workshop
For months, each child has collected, cleaned, and filled plastic bottles. Parents and neighboring communities and schools have all come together to support the process. Once the bottles are collected and money raised to purchase the remaining construction materials, we can begin building!