Who's to Blame and How Can We Stop It?
Cities like Xela and Guatemala City are centers of modern-day Guatemalan civilization. Their streets are crowded with cars, buses, and trucks that choke the air with thick black fumes. Guatemala is a developing country, and its supply of relatively cheap labor has made it a very appealing place for foreign (mostly European and American) industry to set up shop. As a result, thousands of factories pump fumes into the air while polluting the water with their by-products and waste. Human waste is no small problem either. Millions of tons of sewage are created daily, much of which ultimately ends up back in the rivers and lakes that cover the countryside. Garbage dumps overflow with trash and streets are clogged with litter. Or garbage is burned, releasing ash and toxins that further pollute the air.
One main cause of all these problems is that although Guatemala has the technology and resources to produce and consume, it is not wealthy enough to take care of the problems that arise from industrialization. For instance, the government can set emissions standards for automobiles, but it simply cannot afford to enforce them. Although the regulations placed on factories and industry are much looser than those in the U.S. and Canada, even the ones that exist are often ignored because of government corruption and lack of resources. Many of the towns surrounding Lago Atitilan seem very littered and dirty - but not because people here like being surrounded by garbage. They just cannot afford to haul it away and dump it.
Sadly, many American corporations such as Shell and United Fruit bear much of the responsibility for the environmental devastation that continues to ravage this country. While placing huge burdens of extraction on the land and its people, companies like these have done little to improve the quality of life or of the environment. Ultimately, the Guatemalan people--and the land itself--pay an incredible price so that these corporations can profit. If you are interested in taking action against this destruction, check out Kavitha's Making a Difference activity for today.
Team - The Miseducation of Latin America
Kavitha - What's This Oil Doing in My Lake?!?
Kevin - Watch out World!
Kevin - Watch out World! (Kid's Version)
Shawn - A History of Terror in Santiago Atitlan
Make a Difference!
Monica - Greetings
Making a Difference |
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