Waste management is a significant problem in Guatemala, as elsewhere in the developing world. The inappropriate disposal of solid waste produces pollution and places the environment and human health at risk. Environmental risk factors, including inadequate disposal of solid waste, are implicated in 25–30% of disease worldwide with children bearing a disproportionate burden of those diseases. Therefore, economic development which reduces inappropriate disposal of waste and affords economic opportunities may help reduce the global burden of disease on children. In the indigenous highlands of central Guatemala, a community supported non-profit organisation called Long Way Home (http://www.longwayhomeinc.org) is employing alternative construction techniques to build a vocational school complex. The construction of the school from waste materials demonstrates the use and principles of re-purposing materials, helps clean the environment and affords further educational and vocational opportunities. This article will outline the health problems inherent in an indigenous area of a developing country and will offer an alternative solution to reverse environmental risk factors associated with solid waste pollution and also actively improve child health.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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