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By Luis E. Sabini Fernández *
MM is designing a new "profession", in his words, that will make any nightmare of the time of the various slavery that "adorn" humanity pale. No slaveholder ever conceived such an ordeal: classify the domiciliary remains of 14 million inhabitants (those of the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, AMBA).
Candidate Mauricio Macri is displaying an inventiveness without historical precedent. His work or that of his advisers, the truth is that he is the one who formulates it. And for this reason, with some logic, it can be attributed.
Mr. MM apostrophizes that the cartoneros cannot be left more loose in the squares and streets, that they must be "dignified" by giving them a place and a job, with a chinstrap and everything.
MM should be asked what he means by trade. And certainly, what do you mean by dignity?
The project, following some of the postulates of Murphy's Law, is simple and easy to understand, even if it is false or atrocious in its premises or conditions: concentrating the “cartoneros” in centers with a curious “green” name so that, there, locked in an unprecedented atmosphere "separate the garbage." Above all, out of the public eye, that is of you, reader, and me.
The organization that has taken charge of household waste in the last three decades, CEAMSE, the state agency in charge of the disappearance of garbage, has a hoppers that it has commissioned with enormous technological pride to lower banana peels like a slide, plastic yogurt containers or freshly consumed fish wrappers, alkaline and cadmium batteries, rope toys that no longer have rope, worn out shoes, rotten residue from "last night's food" that takes a long time to reach the hopper (some, few, days), yesterday's diaries, worn quill cords, the dog's broken collar, ditto poop, leftover stew, discarded diapers, empty plastic bags of all sizes, colors and thicknesses, broken toothpicks, worn ball bearings, brake fluid expired, glass container of jam, plastic stoppers, broken glasses case, empty pens, stale bread, cheese shells and strings of some cold meat, in short, the usual in any bag that we have apr I have come to fill in the last half century.
The waste thus shuffled in hoppers and endless tables receive the avid visits of green flies, of the meat, which is the most visible, although worms and other insects also make their "August" there.
The smell of that mixture is indescribable. Nauseating is almost a qualifier for velvet.
The risk of contamination with such a mixture is even worse.
MM is designing a new "trade", in his words, that will make any nightmare of the time of the various slavery that "adorn" humanity pale. No slaveholder ever conceived such an ordeal: classify the domiciliary remains of 14 million inhabitants (those of the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, AMBA).
MM uses such wise measures with a feature that was already inherent to the old slavery, although the dens in which it wants to configure this "new reality" surpass everything that has existed: cut from stone to pick and shovel, harvest by hand of sugar cane or any other monoculture, personal services down to the smallest details.
And it is that both the classic or past slavery as the MM project have considerable social support. Because people in general do not want to hear about household garbage (neither industrial nor urban, for the rest). You don't want to take care of the waste you “produce” every day. On all fours, if they agree to take care of what their dogs lay down (because pets are sacred).
So MM's proposal to make the issue invisible has gained considerable support from the beginning.
Some people torture themselves when they see that they themselves or their family are putting that bullshit we mentioned at the beginning in the same bag. "Feel" that it is wrong, foolish. But fortunately for MM (and for CEAMSE) those feelings are a minority in the population because a good number of people have become accustomed to the comfort, and then let Montoto fix it.
In the AMBA of some 14 million human beings, those who have to endure the smell, the vision (or lack of it, covered by the hills of garbage), the health risks, the painful spectacle of hundreds of daily trucks unloading their effluvia, they should not be more than a few, very few hundred thousand inhabitants. In José León Suárez, in Ensenada, in González Catán and until recently in Wilde.
Of course these neighbors protest. That's right. But the great number ignore them, although it is precisely their detritus that affects these neighborhoods.
MM's "proposal", in a way it has to be called, goes in the same direction. In any case, it is even more exquisite: because it concentrates the task of cleaning the Augean stables in the already heavily punished population.
But the task of Hercules was a nonsense next to what MM entrusts to the cartoneros. Because Hercules had to clean up that monumental, biblical filth just once. And the cartoneros, as in the myth of the torture of Sisyphus, must lift the immense stone of dirt, paper, plastic, organic remains and fetid odors every day. The AMBA totals about 18 thousand tons of “household garbage” per day. As he hears it, or reads it. 18 million kilos. Every day.
And in truth, as women in a state of prostitution say, "no woman was born to be a whore." And no human was born to be a cartonero.
Needless to say; what is foolish is the creation of these mountains of garbage. That we have to "thank" petrochemicals and the business world in general in the first place. To achieve greater profitability and to create greater dependence on the consumer, anything goes, even spoiling the planet (and ourselves).
The American way of life taught us how to use and pull. And so we now go around the world fleeing from all responsibility and polluting in every step we take. We have bought "the model" for the comfort it offers us. Although comfort does not serve to make us happier or more autonomous, but more dependent.
It would be necessary to reduce the disposable.
Garbage should be separated, as they say, at source. But to accept such tasks, capital would have to stop stealing by the handful and force a worker to work days of 50 or 60 hours a week in order to barely make ends meet.
Any fight against garbage-as-is-implies a questioning of capital-as-is-is. Anti-capitalism they tell you. Oh my GOD!
It seems to me that the current Argentine political horizon does not have those goals.
Although, below, among the grassroots groups, among the artisan cooperatives, in the meetings of the unemployed who want to break the iron circle of exclusion, among the companies recovered by their workers when the employers closed due to lack of profitability, among the neighbors grouped together to defend the environment, health, water, among wage earners who do not accept the directives of business unionism, that horizon can be seen, even if not clearly.
* Teacher in the area of Ecology and Human Rights of the Free Human Rights Chair of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UBA, journalist and editor of Futuros.