The problem of garbage on Latin American streets

The problem of garbage on Latin American streets

By Carlos Ruperto Fermín

The systematic ecological indifference in Latin America allows Latin Americans to produce from 0.7 to 1.3 kilograms of garbage daily, so that every 24 hours more than 500 thousand tons of solid waste are originated, which ends up averaging almost 200 million tons of waste annually. Of that tragic figure, less than 15% of the organic and inorganic materials that are discharged in open-air garbage dumps are recycled, which accumulate, burn and pollute all environmental neglect, caused by the ignorance of more than 600 millions of Latin Americans that crowd the streets of our capitalist geography.

We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, but where does the carton of eggs, the bottle of Coke, and the can of tuna end?

We buy, sell and give away, but where does the cigarette butt, the toy blister and the liquor glass end?

We read, we travel and we pray, but where does the newsprint, razor blades, and pregnancy tests end?

We cry, laugh and dream, but where does the chlorine container, the cookie wrapper and the fruit peel end?

We work, sleep and wake up, but where does the disposable diaper, scratched CDs, and nail grime end up?

We are born, we grow up and we die, but where does the shampoo pot, the milk tetra pak, the hospital syringes and the rusty spark plugs end?

The answer is very simple. Much of the Latin American garbage ends up agglutinated in a generic black, white or transparent plastic bag, which is deposited in the generic garbage container in front of our home, waiting for the clock hands to mark the unpunctual arrival of the generic compactor truck, which with industrial shouts it will move all solid waste to the generic open-air dump, so that from generation to generation the same erratic history of environmental abuse is repeated.

Why are we so rascal? We live destroying the biophysical environment that we house, and we remain silent before the great ecocide that we perpetrate in the office, at home, in the squares, in the parks, on the beaches and on the sidewalks of our countries. From Toluca de Lerdo in Mexico, through Maracaibo in Venezuela, and reaching Tucumán in Argentina, we observe that the ecological irrationality of the Latin American population demonstrates the lack of Conservationism among citizens, and the refusal of the governments of the moment to apply the legal regulations that prioritize the mandatory practice of recycling.

The questions arise What legal regulations are we referring to? Is it the phantasmagorical laws on the Integral Management of Solid Waste, or the municipal ordinances that are never transferred to the community?

It is obvious that the current environmental policy in Latin America coexists with bad odor, with rats, with pigs, with flies, with worms, and with the methane that lives under the layers of garbage in La Ciénaga, in El Rodeo, in La Bonanza, in Yotoco, in Villa Hayes, in Norte III, in La Esmeralda, in La Chorrera, in El Milagro, in Cerro Patacón, in San José, in La Cañada, in Zone 3, in Las Iguanas, in Santiago Poniente, in Doña Juana, in Atiquizaya, in Huajara, in Yopal, in Calle 100, in Los Pinos and in the rest of the environmental annihilation labyrinths, better known as landfills, landfills or garbage dumps.

Let us remember that the aforementioned labyrinths of ecocide were not, are not and will never be the environmentally intelligent response to achieve the sustainable and sustainable development of peoples. Lime, sawdust and sand could not hide the prolonged cracks of the extinct Jardim Gramacho, which lived for more than 30 years enduring extreme negligence in Rio, and predicted the unstoppable ecological crisis of the current 21st century.

Unfortunately, landfills do not represent an effective technical mechanism for disposing of urban waste. The truth is that natural areas demarcated with strategic politicized words are improvised, where contracting companies never end up collecting, classifying and taking garbage to authorized recycling centers, which would take advantage of discarded materials for the sake of reuse as raw material, to the manufacture of new products with low environmental impact.

On the contrary, in Latin America it is customary to burn garbage in the early hours of the morning, releasing a hurricane of toxic ashes that mistreats the quality of the air, and causes respiratory diseases in people who inhale them, since these substances are harmful to health , they spoil the lungs of Human Beings and eat away at the rib cage of the allergic environment.

Imagine that a broken light bulb burns in a garbage dump, whose mercury mixes with the expanded polystyrene from an old school craft, which is filtered with the alcoholic foam that got trapped in the beer bottles, and ends up being sulfate with the alkaline batteries used by the digital camera.

If we admit that the irresponsible burning of garbage in the open air takes place 365 days a year in different locations in our countries, we can understand the colossal vicious circle in which we find ourselves immersed. In addition, we are damaging the vegetation layer of ecosystems, encouraging the furtive entry of families living in a state of destitution, collapsing the sewers in times of rain, and increasing the plague of rodents, scavengers and insects that reach urbanized centers in those of us who live, causing an epidemiological crisis that affects all social strata.

Let's be honest, the solution to the presented socio-environmental obstacle goes beyond modernizing, eliminating or making up the garbage accumulated in sanitary landfills. What Latin Americans really face is a suffocating consumerist trend headed by the almighty god money, who is not interested in the fatal fate of his savage capitalism and its slaves, to transform them into human wretches disguised as men and women with sharp thinking critical.

The joke is to work, buy, earn, covet, envy, steal, kill, and retell the joke to the neighbor. Therefore, addiction to the supply and demand of any auctioned merchandise is synchronized with the classic cognitive weakness of the proletariat, which always refuses to exercise the evil Recycling Culture, the treacherous Energy Efficiency and the sinful Saving of Drinking Water. Thus, the great ecocide becomes so fast and furious that we fail to understand the consequences of laughing out loud, at the bitter cotufa of our spectacular consummate selfishness.

It does not matter if they are children, adults or the elderly. We Latin Americans do not have enough intellectual maturity to recognize the importance of the Environment and help with the care of the beautiful Gaia. There is a lot of stubbornness on the temple of the people, who continue to be blocked from the possibility of reflecting on the constant environmental injustices committed in their territories.

Just as we are willing to spend hours connected to social networks on the Internet, we could also recycle the candy wrappers after eating them. Just as we are willing to go to the movies and watch the hot Hollywood premieres, we could also recycle the electronics from the outdated television. Just as we are willing to marry in the Church, have many children, and get divorced after nine months, we could also recycle the mountain of garbage that we shared on the unforgettable honeymoon.

We hate recycling, because from childhood we were told that garbage is not touched, but without realizing it, we become garbage by not touching the art of recycling. People think that garbage magically disappears in front of their eyes, and they consider that there is no reason to feel the slightest bit of remorse. We see that most of the people, always furiously throw their waste in the garbage container. They do it with rage, very angry and roughly. Nobody wants to take out the garbage on the street, because it generates annoyance, pain and shame.

But, we were the ones who bought all those products that harassed the supermarket cart, and we paid for them with a credit card, debit card or cash. We were the ones who cooked, ate and used those foods purchased from department stores. We were the ones who devoured the McDonalds package with the burgers, the sodas and the fries.

Despite this, we ask ourselves: Why after the consumer feast no one wants to take responsibility for the garbage produced? Could it be that we go from angels to demons in a jiffy? Could it be that we are the great accomplices of the ecological barbarism that protects the 21st century?

We believe that planet Earth is a majestic cosmic orgasm, and that life is the best dream in the history of the Universe. We are lucky to live in a safe haven for human existence, as it meets the ideal conditions to guard the passing of our ephemeral life. That is why we Human Beings are indebted to Pachamama, and we must bring about a modus vivendi that prioritizes the well-being of natural resources, and allows a favorable interaction with its sacred biodiversity.

Let's meditate on the ecological disaster that the overcrowded planet Earth externalizes, accepting the social prejudices that exist around garbage collection, the double discourse of the rulers who are loaded with demagoguery to get more votes from the people, and the apathy of the citizens. that becomes the best puppets of the aberrated circus show.

Recycling requires joint work between public bodies, private companies and NGOs, to comply with the environmental synergy of the 3rs rule (reduce, reuse and recycle). Here individualism, hypocrisy and bureaucracy do NOT work. However, in Latin American countries the political sphere is in charge of conditioning all the plague that belittles, bribes and destroys the conservationist interest in helping without asking for anything in return.

We are suffering from the deficit of environmental programs that really value the recovery and reuse of domestic and industrial waste, because government regimes depend on the Culture of Consumption, Waste and Disposal, to maximize the degree of happiness, comfort and pleasure of its conceited inhabitants. Although it pains us to admit it, if our Latin American compatriots are not threatened with the payment of tax units, with many hours of community service, with the deprivation of liberty or with any other legal trick, they will never be part of the consequent recycling chain .

To add insult to injury, supermarkets, supplies and other businesses that offer mass consumption products reject the application of return, collection, storage and transport mechanisms that guarantee the reuse of plastic, glass, cardboard, paper or metals obtained with the Wholesale and retail. There is only a glimpse of a frenzy of consumerism, which plays with the purchasing power of customers, and does not take the blame for the reigning environmental debauchery.

Although many basic necessities, display an ecological symbol that invites to deposit them in a garbage container, or to recycle them in a waste treatment plant. The big drawback is that this graphic information is hidden in the packaging, container or bottle. With treachery, the transnationals place the image in a very small, almost imperceptible and unreadable way for the eyes of the traditional illiterate consumer. Nobody is known to read or practice recycling. The owners of supermarkets also wash their hands, assuming that the entire list of duties and rights is explicit in the label of the items, so they do not feel alluded to the similar socio-environmental despotism caused.

Much of the tons of Latin American garbage is NOT biodegradable. Mother Nature's planned obsolescence can take anywhere from 5 to 1000 years to degrade all plastic that is mixed with artificial inks, aluminum, synthetic resins, street debris, and cellulose pulp. Therefore, while we wait for the launch of the new Iphone, the new Galaxy, the new Macbook, the new Android and the new Xperia, we could visit some region of the ancient native peoples, to ask forgiveness on our knees to each of our indigenous brothers , who are the most affected by the overexploitation of natural resources and by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), which is deforesting, polluting and devastating the nobility of the most innocent.

The fault is not the Chileans, the Mexicans or the Brazilians. Neither of Venezuelans, Argentines or Ecuadorians. Not much less of the Colombians, the Peruvians or the Bolivians. All but absolutely ALL Latin Americans are guilty of the great ecocide that took place in the 21st century. We are blind, deaf and dumb, because we do not receive Environmental Education classes in our school learning process. The teachers filled our brains with words in English, with calculations from Algebra and phrases from Philosophy, but they never taught us how to sort breakfast waste, reuse chalk on the blackboard, and recycle bruises from recess.

The negative trend in Latin America will worsen in the next 15 years, due to the agglomeration of uncontrollable e-waste, due to the expansion of car and tire scrap in vacant land, due to the waste of urban mining to stop the high unemployment rate, due to the hypnotic advertising bombardment that is broadcast on TV channels, due to the non-overcrowding of recycling centers that are easily located on the streets, due to the non-commercialization of products made 100% with recycled materials, and the lack of diversification of the energy matrix, which will strongly punish the Latin American ecological horizon, increasing the levels of pollution from greenhouse gas emissions.

As we saw throughout the report, recycling is a dead letter to governments, communities and their locals. Latin American households do not separate domestic garbage from the source, either due to ignorance, conformity or because they know that the urban cleaning compactor truck will be in charge of mixing all the waste and will spoil the recycling task.

Enough of the unsuccessful pilot plans, the corrupt bilateral agreements, and the hackneyed talks given on May 17, which never force one to practice Conservationism. The free will of hyper-consumerism drowns us with so much garbage from head to toe. Hopefully we can find the key and unlock recycling in Latin America, so that it is no longer a taboo subject, a stone in our shoes, or a stain of blood that germinates in the depths of the forest.


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