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Guatemalan ‘waste river’ causes health hazards

A Guatemalan river known for its high percentage of contamination has become a health risk, a metal collector has said

According to data from Las Vacas Hydroelectric, the Las Vacas river is made up of about 60% of Guatemala City’s sewage and rubbish, which prevents the river’s water from flowing normally and also prevents aquatic life.

Santiago, a local metal collector, frequently walks among the foul smells and toxic rubbish in search of gold, silver, bronze or scrap metal that he can sell to make a living.

He claims that contact with the dirty river water has caused skin and respiratory problems.

Although various organisations are working to prevent waste from reaching the sea, their efforts have been overwhelmed by the amount of rubbish.

The Las Vacas River converges with the Motagua River, which then flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the organisation The Ocean Cleanup, 2% of the plastic emissions that reach the world’s oceans come from the Motagua River due to the pollution coming from Guatemala.

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