How We Prepare for the Rainy Season in Rio Motagua

Joshua Restauro, 4ocean Story Editor

Corona x 4ocean’s project in Rio Motagua has been extraordinarily impactful since we installed our first containment boom system back in 2023. The overwhelming amount of plastic that flows through the largest river in Guatemala is harming vital ecosystems as it transports floating trash into the ocean, and is affecting the health and livelihood of local communities.

To control the 40 million pounds of plastic waste that enter Rio Motagua each year, we installed an Elastec Beach Bouncer containment boom system to collect and prevent trash from flowing to the ocean.

Our River of Change boom system is specifically designed to collect and intercept floating debris in a powerful waterway such as the 486-kilometer-long Rio Motagua. The best thing is that it doesn’t restrict or interfere with wildlife.


The Elastec containment boom is made with durable fabrics to handle long-term interception of plastic debris. This floating barricade is used in strong currents and helps our crew work productively in the highly-polluted water of Rio Motagua.

So far into our 5-year project with Corona, we have removed and recycled almost a hundred thousand pounds of trash from the river alone. But as Guatemala is about to transition to the rainy season, a fiercer challenge awaits.


Last year, a heavy storm ravaged Rio Motagua and caused some sections of our containment boom to dislodge. Our local crew had to recover the pieces that washed all the way to Honduras and Belize. To avoid this misfortune in the coming rainy months, we reinstalled and securely anchored the boom system by digging holes in the river.

Rio Motagua’s width is expected to increase from 30-meters up to 150-meters during monsoon, unleashing an explosion of plastic waste into the surrounding valleys, communities, and ocean. To prepare for all the extra trash, we extended the boom by adding two more sections and will mobilize a bigger crew to process the massive amount of debris our boom captures before they bury Guatemalan shores in plastic.


By extending our containment boom system, we will be able to prevent flooding and damage to the population of birds, endangered reptiles, and the powerful jaguar that live near the waterway. The Mesoamerican reef, a vital marine habitat and the world’s second largest coral reef, is also put at a higher risk of devastation if plastic is washed into the Caribbean sea.

Moving our operation to the source of the plastic pollution that is turning the countries of Honduras and Guatemala into a landfill has so far proven to be an efficient mitigation of the problem. We are not just cleaning the ocean and rivers but also helping families overcome the economic and health risks of pollution.


The 4ocean community, through every big or small action, is sending a message that the paradise Rio Motagua once was is not lost forever. Each of our contributions is felt by the ocean and the lives that rely on it.

The plastic crisis in Guatemala may currently look impossible to completely eliminate with the nonexistent waste management infrastructure and rocketing human population in the country. But with our efforts and your support, we are slowly restoring ecosystems, have provided stable jobs to locals directly impacted by plastic pollution, and most importantly, we have awakened a sense of unity, awareness, and responsibility towards our one shared ocean.

We will win this battle. And all the rainy seasons to come.


From the Rio Motagua
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