Monday, September 10, 2007

Closure of open air dumps

Two weeks ago I wrote about the problem of solid waste disposal in El Salvador and protests involving the creation of a new sanitary landfill for Santa Ana.

This week all of the open air dumps must be closed, and environmental inspectors went out across the country to ensure that municipalities were complying with the law. Protests continued in Santa Ana over the new landfill which may not comply with environmental regulations. More than 100 municipalities have signed contracts to send their solid waste to the sanitary landfill at Nejapa .

The new law also means the end of an era for the thousands of persons who make their livelihoods in these open air dumps, searching for items of value amidst the discarded rubbish of Salvadoran society. According to today's edition of the digital magazine El Faro, in the six months since the dump closure law was passed, no representative of any institution ever came and told those people depending on working in the dumps that this week the garbage trucks would stop coming.

El Faro published a photo gallery of stark black and white photographs showing the lives of those who scavenge in the "kingdom of the vulture". What will they do now?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

El Salvador can never win...it literally "cleans" its act, with the aim to avoid so many garbage-borne deceases. And now it is portrayed as "cruel" because it takes away garbage-based occupations?

It's almost as if the media has two options: El Salvador is bad and El Salvador is bad: A picture of a child scraping for food in El Salvador, or an elderly who just lost its only source of survival, in El Salvador. It can never win...

Anonymous said...

Pobrecito de mi pais, Pobrecito por tu sufrir Pobrecito por lo que ha de venir.

Tim said...

When I asked "What will they do now?" it may have appeared that I was suggesting that El Salvador should not close the open air dumps. That was not my intent. My point was that the government which calls itself the government "with human feeling" could have taken steps to ease the impact for the poorest of the poor. And obviously it's not just the national ARENA government, it is also local governments which are in the hands of the FMLN, PCN and other parties. Ultimately the pictures in El Faro call out for compassion, they don't tell you what the correct policy choice might be.

El-Visitador said...

«What will they do now?»

Whereas quite of course I support the closure of open-air dumps, you seem to have stumbled upon a truth many so-called "environmentalist" radicals choose to ignore: that blind rejection of hydropower, mining, new and existing factories, electrical power, and road construction leave Salvadoreans with a stark reality:

If there is no power, no jobs, and no infrastructure, what will Salvadoreans do now?


- * -


Great post. Thanks.

Qiuvo said...

Tim, I just started reading your blog not too long ago. As usual, great post. I do feel the open air dumps need to be closed, as they pose a big health hazzard for the communities they are in. Landfills are necessary. Has there ever been a program that puts people who scavange the garbage to work cleaning the streets? Just wondering if anything like this has ever been tried. I know it was done in the Philippines (they have a huge garbage problem as well) although I'm not sure if they still practice it.

inner-self said...

tough, very tough on the scavengers. but really, the dumps must be closed for the sake of containing pollution. just another bit of proof of how underdeveloped the country is, for its citizens to become literally vultures. we all know the govt. is very reluctant to help the poor, ES needs direct investment in its human capital, its obvious. the people are the only resource el salvador counts on, and look at how society has run astray. it's sad. simply put.

el-visitante said...

Can privatization save us(sarcasm)?

El-Visitador said...

Can privatization save us?

Why, of course. Look at all of the rich countries: in most of these, most enterprises are private. How do you think they got rich in the first place?

Caesar said...

through imperialism duh!

Sergio said...

«through imperialism»

right, dude

because the Swiss, the Italian, the Hong Kong, and the Korean empires were once so powerful!

Caesar said...

the hong kong empire? Never heard of it...I did hear of a British territory called Hong Kong, which Britain obtained through it's expansion in imperialism..

The Italian's had various territories scattered across Africa during the same time period.

Korean Empires..Hm don't know about that one, as they really aren't rich nor are they privatization leaders...

Ahhh the Swiss, gotta love them. Neutrality spared them destruction that various other european countries had to deal with and rebuild. But they aren't the goldenboys of privatization either..

El-Visitador said...

Buddy, the reason you never heard of these "empires" is because they never existed. And no, Mussolini sacking the poor Ethiopians does not count as "empire."

Countries get rich through savings, hard work, the sanctity of private contracts, decent courts, and private property.

Empire-building leaves countries poor and overextended. Just ask Napoleon, Tojo, or Gorbachev.