Almost half of the world's population cooks with solid fuels, such as firewood. Inhalation of household air pollution is estimated to contribute to 1,6 million premature deaths per year-- nearly all of these deaths are in low resource countries. For over 20 years we have worked in rural areas of Guatemala, and have observed that many households burn plastic in their kitchen stoves and in their outdoor fires. Based on the 2018 Guatemala Census, it is estimated that in rural Guatemala, 71% of rural households burn waste as their primary means of disposal.
The excessive consumption of single-use plastic, the lack of a waste management system, and the absence of effective educational programs that alert the population to the risks of BURNING PLASTIC in this situation, have caused the inhabitants of many communities to , especially in rural areas, are exposed to toxic smoke from burning plastic in their homes. The lack of garbage collection services is the main reason why people have to carry out the bad practice of burning solid waste, which constitutes a high risk to health and the environment. This is a problem of ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, where people living with fewer resources suffer health problems precisely because they do not have equal access to resources that others have. Burning plastic produces black carbon and other chemicals that can be absorbed into the human body. The burning of plastics releases toxic black smoke that contains carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting compounds. Black carbon and gases produced by burning plastic contribute to the "greenhouse effect", which is a cause of climate change worldwide.