Municipality of Chinautla, Department of Guatemala
Area of work and rights defended
Since 1989, the Chinautla Multisector have been defending their right to be consulted on the activities of various clay extraction companies operating in their territory (Arenera La Primavera, Arenera El Pino, Piedrinera San Luis and San Fernando Arenera). They are also defending their territory against the pollution caused by other businesses operating in the region.
Another problem faced by Pocomam communities is the pollution of the Las Vacas river that passes through Chinautla which flows directly out of the landfill in zone 3 of the capital city.
Summary of the problem
The Chinautla Multisector is formed by communities from across townlands in the Chinautla municipality, Community Development Councils (COCODES) and other collectives such as the Association of Women Potters, aouth associations and the Catholic and Evangelical churches from the municipality of Chinautla La Vieja.
The region has been used for clay extraction for decades. In 1995, however, large-scale clay extraction began with the use of heavy machinery, producing significant social and environmental impacts in the area. More than two thouclay people have been affected in a variety of manners: the heavy machinery has caused tremors leading to cracks in their houses; people living close to the road have experienced respiratory problems due to the dust raised by passing vehicles; and they have seen a decrease in the quality of the clay in the area, the principal raw material for the ceramic crafts the communities produce as their main economic activity. Furthermore, the population has been affected by the pollution of the river, which comes from the rubbish dump in Zone 3 of the Capital City, a problem that increases during the rainy season.
The Chinautla Multisector defends, through peaceful means, its right to be consulted on the clay extraction operations and other business projects that strongly affect their way of life and community organization. They have started several round table dialogues with the Ministry for Health and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, as well as with the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office (PDH).
PBI received a request for accompaniment from the Multisector, as they have been subject to attacks and criminalization. PBI began accompanying them in December 2018.