Mexico: Poor waste management and recycling culture

In Mexico, the majority of landfills are managed by private companies

Mexico: Poor waste management and recycling culture
Mexico has yet to implement new technology and process to manage wastes - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/07/2019 09:13 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:21
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In many parts of the country, waste management is carried out using scarce separation and recycling protocols, something that has a negative impact on the environment, despite the fact that these sites no longer are dumpsters and have been called landfills for years. Nevertheless, the only change implemented was on the name. There are “landfills” where the waste management is a synonym of focus of infection in the open air, as well as pollution of rivers and forests.

For example, in the state of Mexico, the Tepatlaxco landfill is a mountain of garbage from several municipalities, including Atizapán, Tlalnepantla, and Naucalpan. All this garbage generates a fetid smell and pests such as flies, rats, and cockroaches. The toxic liquids that come from accumulated garbage, generated by over 100 tonnes of daily garbage, seep into farmlands and rivers.

In Mexico, the majority of landfills are managed by private companies that were granted the concession of several hectares of land to carry out their operations. These companies vow to implement better technology, processes and protect the environment but if authorities do not monitor the operations and make sure the companies fulfill their contracts, the waste management ends up being harmful to nearby communities.

The country has an official norm, issued by the Semarnat, that establishes the minimum specifications required to operate a landfill. If the norm was fulfilled, the nearby communities wouldn't have to face problems generated by waste management.

Nevertheless, in regards to waste management, society has to contribute to finding a solution to this problem. At home, people have to separate the garbage and learn how to recycle; the industry has to commit to adopting clean and efficient processes to manage the wastes; authorities should provide efficient garbage collection services, investment in water treatment and recycling plants, as well as verifying the operation of waste management companies.

As soon as all the measures mentioned above are implemented, Mexico will be able to claim that now has an integral waste management, which would guarantee the protection of the environment, an ecological equilibrium, and a minimum pollutant effect, and most importantly, fewer health risks. It is urgent to move towards more efficient and clean waste management.
 

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