Dumps, borders and beaches: Mexico’s garbage crisis
Rubbish is piling up in Mexico’s capital after the city’s largest waste dump, Bordo Poniente, was closed after the landfill was, for lack of a better word, filled.
The landfill, in fact, was meant to close back in 2005, but the city managed to delay closure by 6 years. Now garbage is accumulating in illegal dumps in Mexico City, on street corners and even in front of monuments.
The fact that Mexico lags behind in waste reducing measures, such as recycling programs, compounds the problem in the DF.
From the Guardian:
The demise of the Bordo Poniente exposed how acutely the Mexican capital is struggling with the challenge of moving from a chaotic refuse collection system to more modern waste management. While Buenos Aires and Bogotá receive regular praise for their efforts to generate less rubbish and recycle more, Mexico City is held up as an example of what not to do.
And it’s not just Mexico City that is suffering from excess trash. Remote deserts on the Mexican-US border are strewn with waste left behind by illegal immigrants crossing into the US in search of a better life.
From the Daily Mail:
The problem was compounded as immigrants and drug traffickers responded to ramped up vigilance on the U.S.-Mexico border by taking increasingly remote routes, leaving more waste behind in out-of-the way and hard-to-clean areas, authorities say.
Clean-up efforts are largely dependent on volunteers from the US state of Arizona.
Then there are the plastic and garbage covered beaches on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, in an area called Mahahual. This has nothing to do with the habits of locals or tourists, but simply the misfortune of the beaches being located along the path of a regional ocean current which channels the rubbish into the area and washes it up on shore.
The area is home to the Banco Chinchorro, a large coral reef that is a diver’s paradise, and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a sprawling, government-protected zone populated by egrets, cormorants and other waterfowl. Tourism tends to be on a small scale, with the exception of cruise ships that pull up to a pier in Mahahual that was rebuilt in 2008, after Hurricane Dean
–Los Angeles Times
According to some estimates 46,000 pieces of plastic waste are in every square mile of the Earth’s oceans. I’m assuming this is an estimated average, but it’s shocking however you interpret it.
Read more on that story in the Los Angeles Times.