A small town in Guatemala sets an example for the whole world. In San Pedro La Laguna, where they live off tourism, the indigenous communities that make up this society have decided to exchange plastic bags for banana leaves. The municipality supports the initiative and since this year it is punishable to give plastic bags.
Historically, banana leaves were for this region the only way to transport provisions or to be used as a plate to eat. The old ancestral tradition today comes back to life.Plastic has polluted the water and shoreline of Lake Atlitlán, the natural resource that is the center of the town's tourist attractions.
The mayor of the small town, Mauricio Méndez, I want to eradicate plastic this year from his territory, who lives off tourism but has seen how this activity has modified the environment, mainly because all the products that are sold in the fair that surrounds to the lake they are delivered in plastic bags.
Most of the population are members of the ethnic grouptzutujil who have decided to recover their tradition to help take care of the town's environment. "Banana leaves serve the same as bags and do not pollute our lake. Customers already ask for them,so we will all be happier”Says a butcher. An original artisan maintains that there are still some who use plastic bags, but that all of them force themselves to stop using them and deliver their products in banana bags because "they are better for the environment"
It is estimated that in the world there are between500,000 million and a trillion plastic bags that take between a century and ten centuries to degrade, constituting one of the most used and most polluting waste on our planet. Many countries in the world have already declared war on plastic, such as France, and recently the government of Buenos Aires announced that as of January 1, supermarkets will no longer deliver more plastic balls.
The case of the small indigenous town in Guatemala marks an example of how ancestral roots must be recovered and used in our time, since they are always aboutgood environmental habits. The mayor of San Pedro with the fines that he will apply to merchants who continue to deliver plastic bags, specified that he does not want to collect money but "to minimize the serious damage that the excess of this type of products are generating in the environment and in the lake."