Trash threatens to overtake Mexico City
City has closed its largest landfill without replacement.
Mexico City is filling with trash. The closure of that city's biggest garbage dump and the lack of programs to collect urban waste has serious consequences for the people and their health.
The mountains of trash that make up Bordo Poniente have grown for decades.
Ivan Restrepo, head of the Ecology and Development Center said, "We have insisted on the 'metropolitanization' of public services, like waste collection, water, transport and energy which are in crisis situation now. A fair amount of Mexico City's waste comes from people who live in the metropolitan area - people who come in to the city to work, and the informal traders."
It is because of this, that regional municipalities have no interest in accepting trash from the capital city--it's not their problem.
The Bordo Poniente landfill has been open since 1985. The site was accepting 12,600 tons of waste per day. Now, the city must decide what to do with its trash.
Mexico City is home to some 24 million people. This means that great volumes of trash are being rapidly produced in concentrated areas. If city officials cannot find a new place to dump that city's trash, a health crisis could soon develop.
Worsening the situation, only about 15 percent of Mexico's trash is recycled. While the government has set a goal to recycle as much as 60 percent of that nation's waste, a comprehensive program to accomplish this has not yet been agreed upon.
While new landfill sites have been proposed, local opposition to the sites is always intense making it very difficult for the government to open new landfills.
Presently, the government has plans to build waste-to-energy plants on file, but all of those plans were suspended in 2009 because of internal opposition. Had the plants been built, they would have helped with recycling, composting, and the generation of electricity. But as usual, nobody wants such a facility in their backyard.
Making the matter even more complicated, especially when money is involved, is the question of who owns the waste once it is discarded. Mexico's 2003 Federal Waste Law does not clarify who owns the garbage. Is it the people who create it, the collector, or the owner of the dump? Because this question is unclear, converting the waste to profit through energy generation, recycling, or composting remains a sticky and expensive issue that is prone to litigation.
Although most of Mexico City's waste is still being diverted to two other municipal facilities, those facilities are expected to reach capacity before long. For the people of Mexico City, whose health is at stake, the clock is ticking as officials scramble to find a solution to that city's growing and dangerous problem.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mexico City, dump, landfill, waste, garbage, health, Bordo Poniente
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