On August 6, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “PBI accompanies the CCR and researchers from Virginia Tech University in the verification of water contamination in the rivers of the Champerico region.”
PBI-Guatemala explained: “The Retalhuleu Community Council (CCR) consists of more than 18 communities in the department of Retalhuleu (mainly the municipality of Champerico), belonging to the Mam, K’iche’ and Ixil peoples.”
It highlights: “The CCR began to organize in 2015 as a result of adverse effects caused by the expansion of the monoculture of sugar and the use of large-scale agrochemicals and pesticides used by the mills in the region. In recent years there has been drought and pollution of wells, rivers, and lagoons, as well as the destruction of livelihoods, causing lack of access to water and health problems such as malnutrition and respiratory and renal ailments.”
Three years ago, Virginia Tech student Cristina Marcillo posted: “This July, I have been working in Guatemala conducting a drinking water monitoring study of San Rafael las Flores, home to the Escobal silver mine, and co-leading a water-monitoring workshop for citizen scientists from all over Guatemala in Chimaltenango.”
She added: “This project is funded by Virginia Tech’s Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention and is a collaboration between the Krometis lab group in Biological Systems Engineering (of which I am a part!) and Dr. Nicholas Copeland in Sociology, who received a Fulbright to work in Guatemala this year.”
PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the CCR since April 2020.
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