Urgent Action Needed to Protect Guatemala’s Motagua River

ELAW Staff Scientist Meche Lu traveled to Guatemala recently to help ELAW partners at the Environmental and Water Law Alliance (ADA2) raise awareness about the destruction of the Motagua River, and engage citizens and government authorities in conservation strategies.

“Tons of domestic and industrial waste, untreated effluent, and sewage from urban and rural communities go right into the river,” says Meche.  “The neglect and level of contamination is appalling.”

The Motagua flows from Guatemala’s Western Highlands, collecting waters of 29 major rivers, and draining to the Gulf of Honduras.  The pollution poses a serious risk to public health and the Mesoamerican Reef.  ADA2 is collaborating with authorities, universities, municipalities, citizen groups, and local NGOs to encourage better management of the Motagua’s upper watershed.

Meche joined ADA2 at a community workshop in Chimaltenango on June 26 to launch the “Manual for Good Water Governance in the Municipalities of the Upper Motagua Watershed.” The guidebook will help citizens, NGOs, municipalities, and national authorities make better decisions and advance work to improve the river ecosystem and the livelihoods of residents in the upper basin.

“Addressing the contamination of the Motagua River is not just protecting nature, it is giving local people dignity, health, and better quality of life” says Meche.

We will keep you informed of efforts to restore the Motagua River watershed.  Many thanks to the Laird Norton Family Foundation for supporting this work.

If you would like to learn more about our work and how you can support ELAW, visit our website, Facebook, and Twitter

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide