Domestic, or household-level, open burning of plastic waste is a source of air pollutants and greenhouse
gases that are often neglected in emission inventories. Domestic open burning is a considerable concern
in Guatemala due to the lack of access to waste collection services, particularly in rural areas. This paper
offers the first attempt to estimate emissions from the domestic open burning of waste at the city and
departmental levels in Guatemala. Data were collected from the Xalap´an region of Jalapa, Guatemala
and analyzed to determine the change in plastic waste generation over time as well as the
socioeconomic factors that may affect the extent of plastic waste generation and burning. The annual
per capita masses of plastic waste burned were used to estimate emissions from domestic open burning
of plastic waste in the region of Xalap´an, the cities of Jutiapa and Guatemala city, and all 22 departments
in Guatemala. Our results show that rural areas burn more waste domestically, likely because of a lack of
access to waste collection, and 30.4% of OC, 24.0% of BC, 23.6% of PM2.5, and 2.4% of CO2 emissions in
Guatemala may not be accounted for by excluding open plastic burning as a source.
The open burning of plastic waste in domestic, or householdlevel, res is a global human health and climate change concern that has not been well studied. Burning of plastic waste is of particular concern in the Global South,1–4 especially in countries such as Guatemala, where the management of solid waste has become an issue due to a lack of access to infrastructure, resources, and services necessary to properly manage and dispose of waste.5 For this reason, waste is oen disposed of through methods that are harmful to the environment, including disposing through burning, burial, or in bodies of water.6 This is particularly concerning for plastic waste, as plastics that enter marine ecosystems through these waste disposal methods can accumulate in sediments and induce physiological stress in aquatic organisms and food chains if ingested.