The Discoverer

Plastic Houses in the Guajira


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My 8th grade peers and I are all familiar with problems in the Guajira. We’ve studied them for a couple of months now and have thought of  solutions. But we all know that these solutions won’t be able to last long, so what can we actually do? Plastic is a huge problem in the Guajira due to there being no trash landfill store it in. People are throwing their plastic away and littering all the places. When we went to visit, we were shocked by the amount of trash. My suggestion will be the most basic and logical one. It has its pros and cons. But by doing this the littering will decrease. Because the winds in Guajira are strong, so the trash eventually ends up in the ocean or stuck to the cacti.

 

The Gyre is the largest patch of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Of the 200 billion pounds of plastic people use each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean, and seventy percent of that will eventually sink.  Ninety percent of the trash floating in the world’s ocean is plastic. Plastic is commonly seen in the Guajira, especially: low-density polyethylene bags (plastic bags), polypropylene (bottle caps), expanded styrene (styrofoam), and lastly, plastic water bottles. What is the impact it causes? Ocean life mistakes small pieces of floating plastic for zooplankton. When they eat it. they ingest the chemicals the plastic had absorbed. When a small fish eats this piece, a bigger fish will eat the smaller fish, and so on.

 

Now to our solution. The solution I’m proposing can be done by anyone, anywhere. When visiting Guajira I noticed that most of the trash floating around were plastic bottles and plastic bags. A place to start would be collecting plastic bottles from their own use, or any they can find outside considering the contamination of this place. and filling it with trash they collect on the way. When average bottles are filled with bits of plastic or wrappers, they’re fairly sturdy and can make a house. Plastic bottle houses are popular in some poor communities in the USA, so why not normalize this instead? In the Guajira the houses are made of cacti, they use a technique to chop the material down and end up leaving quality sticks. These houses are also highly efficient and strong against the wind. But they’re resource and labor intensive, so most houses have to be built by the Wayuu themselves. If the community joins together, or maybe even the school we donated to, they  could assign this task to every single kid. Then there truly could be a difference. All plastic that has been consumed and will be consumed should be recycled and reused.

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Plastic Houses in the Guajira