Published at: March 2023

What do the happy faces of children in Zona 16 in Guatemala City have to do with Dutch Clean Tech’s sewage treatment plants? Potentially: a lot.

The six children posing here in Guatemala City with DCT’s Sander Pielkenrood earned these bikes by working hard at one of the local primary schools in their neighbourhood. They achieved the best results in a recent project at their school, winning a prize given out by the ‘auxiliary mayor’, the mayor of their neighbourhood in Zona 16. The mayor had approached Sander Pielkenrood with the kind request to sponsor the bikes. And of course our CEO complied – con amore!


Zona 16: shining example

Zona 16 is a special story. In a city like Guatemala City (2 million inhabitants), with a lot of poverty and unflourishing ‘favelas’, Zona 16 is considered a shining example. A model zone, where the mayor, with a lot of vision, imagination and perseverance, put up a lot of new housing, roads, activity, healthcare and – through all this – modest prosperity in a number of neighbourhoods. He did this largely under his own steam and with much support from the private sector over the past 20 years. This is how Zona 16 became an area where many people want to live.


Good sewerage

“One of the next steps in Zona 16 is the realisation of good sewerage, replacing the 12,000 septic tanks in the district, supplemented by 4-5 units for sewage treatment,” says Sander Pielkenrood. “Such a project was previously possible only by reaching out to the government for a lot of money. Now the mayor – again with private sector support – is taking a different approach. Our DCT concept, where the buyer only pays for the use of the sewage treatment plant, is going to help him do that.”


Detailed plans and bids

The deal in Zona 16 is not yet finalised. Detailed plans and tenders are being made at DCT in Heerhugowaard; on paper, the sewage plants are now taking shape. Meanwhile, six primary school students in Guatemala City ride around on new DCT bicycles. “The launch of the master plan that our sewage treatment plant is part of was quite an event, with many guests and publicity. When this mayor, who has achieved so much in 20 years, asked us to contribute something to the festive launch by sponsoring bicycles, we didn’t have to think long,” laughs Sander Pielkenrood.