Feature: Mexico moves to clear "garbage siege"

December 7, 2011 10:37 pm 

By Liu Lili

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 7 — The city hall of Mexico City is planning to close one of the largest landfills in the world at the end of this year, as a signal to show the government's decision to solve the problem of "garbage siege," a serious trouble in many large cities worldwide.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said that the capital city of Mexico already has everything ready to close the Bordo Poniente, a large landfill in the city, at the end of this year.

"We are working hard to close the landfill. I want to say that for the first time the city is processing more than half of the waste generated by the Bordo Poniente," the mayor said.

Bordo Poniente, located on the northeastern outskirts of Mexico City, is to be closed on Dec. 31 this year. Dozens of garbage mountains and swarms of flies were seen recently and the stink of garbage could be smelled just several hundred meters away.

Workers were seen there to sort out the plastic bottles and bags, glass and metals from the garbage sent to the landfill, while the organic garbage polluted by chemicals will be buried.

Bordo Poniente's Director Pablo Telles told Xinhua that the landfill was created in 1985, and it received 8,000 tons of garbage every day. He also said that the city hall plan to establish four waste treatment centers after the landfill is closed.

Ebrard said that the government has to close the garbage ground, which is one of the main sources to generate greenhouse gases and pollute the underground water in the country, as a bid to carry out the government's environmental strategy.

Meanwhile, the city is also introducing policies to enhance citizen's awareness on environmental protection. It has tried to strengthen the implementation of garbage classification since 2003.

Currently, two garbage cans are allowed to be set in the public places in the city, such as shopping malls and office buildings – one is for organic garbage and the other is for non-organic wastes. Many residents have been used to sorting garbages.

Natalia Costa, a teacher who lives in the capital, said there are two garbage cans at her home, one for plastic waste and paper, the other for fruit peel and leftovers.

"It is not too difficult to get into the habit of garbage classification if you realize the importance of environmental protection," she said.

Also, the city hall passed laws and regulations to punish littering. Those people who litter will be fined up to 3,800 U.S. dollars and 36 hours in prison. The families which do not sort the garbage will be warned by the government.

After the closure of Bordo Poniente, many garbage collectors will lose their jobs. The city hall hopes the workers can accept the new and clean ways of garbage disposal such as garbage classification and decomposition.

"If they cooperate with the government, they can recollect more garbage and earn more money…We do not want them to lose jobs," said Telles. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/utb

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