Cooking on open fire

In rural Guatemala, many people boil their water to prevent waterborne disease. That often requires tending an open fire inside the home for hours a day. These fires cause dangerous indoor air pollution and a lot of carbon pollution.

So to help people access clean drinking water without boiling it, a company called Ecofiltro sells low-cost, counter-top water filters.

“There’s a measurable and definite significant greenhouse gas reduction when you don’t have to have a fire going to boil water all the time,” says Mark LaCroix of Natural Capital Partners.

The company helps track how the filters are being used.

“We have one of our employees running around Guatemala in a pickup truck monitoring,” LaCroix says. “We’re constantly monitoring the filters to make sure they’re working and that the families are using them correctly.”

His company also helps other businesses invest in projects like this one as a way of offsetting some of their own carbon emissions.

In the case of Ecofiltro, the investments help reduce the cost of the filters, making them affordable for rural families. LaCroix says over time, people can actually save money by buying less firewood.

So it’s a purchase that pays off financially for people’s health and for the climate.

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Reporting credit: Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Editor’s note: This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.