24 | AGO | 2019
The State of Mexico is light years away from an efficient waste management
The landfill is polluting a nearby river – Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL

The State of Mexico is light years away from an efficient waste management

21/07/2019
15:57
Rebeca Jiménez Jacinto
Mexico City
-A +A
The metropolitan landfill located in Tepatlaxco, in the state of México, has become an open-air dumpster

Leer en español

The metropolitan landfill located in Tepatlaxco, in the state of México, has become an open-air dumpster where thousands of tons of garbage from Atizapán, Tlalnepantla, and Naucalpan accumulate. The wastes from these municipalities and private companies generate landfill leachate, a toxic substance that pollutes the subsoil and rivers located in the Rincón Verde area.

The smell, flies, rats, cockroaches, scavengers, and landfill leachate show how this landfill violates an environmental rule, under which the local authorities granted a company called Servicios de Tecnología Ambiental S.A. (Setasa) a concession to operate the landfill for the next 20 years in 2005.

Nowadays, the Tepatlaxco landfill, operated by Bio Merik, whose motto is “Think green. Save energy,” contemplates the use of 16 hectares located in the San Mateo Nopala common land and another 17 in Santiago Tepatlaxco and plans to operate for the next 20 years, said Francisco Zúñiga, the operation manager at Tepatlaxco.

For several days, neighbors showed EL UNIVERSAL how the landfill leachate seeps into a river. EL UNIVERSAL witnessed how hundreds of garbage trucks arrive into the landfill, where wastes are no longer separated and are simply thrown into the site, where there now is a mountain, between 30 and 50 meters high, of garbage.

EL UNIVERSAL reached out to Laura Barranco Pérez, the head of the local Environmental Ministry but did not receive a response.

After the head of Public Services, Carlos Trujillo Anell learned about the complaints, he said he would visit the landfill but said the “company fulfills all the norms, according to with certifications from the Semarnat and the Propaem,” despite the overwhelming evidence showing that this is not the case.

In average, 100 tons of garbage arrived in the landfill every day, especially from Naucalpan, Atizapán de Zaragoza, and private companies.

Moreover, neighbors report that the landfill leachate seeps into crop fields where, until recently, they sowed corn, fava beans, and beans; the leachate then seeps into a river that supplies drinking water to the inhabitants of Rincón Verde.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of Montezuma cypresses in the river, which are dying among the polluted water and leachate generated by the waste. The inhabitants claim they suffer of “headaches and stomachache when the smell worsens,” since the smell affects communities such as Nopalera, Puente de Piedra, Rincón Verde, Aguilillas, Infiernillo; the communities are also affected by hundreds of flies, cockroaches, and rats.

In the state of Mexico, inhabitants generate 16,187 tons of garbage, 48% of it is deposited in 18 landfills located in the metropolitan area.

Nevertheless, closing the Tepatlaxco landfill would collapse the waste management system in Naucalpan, a municipality that generated almost 1,000 tons of garbage, said Trujillo Anell.

Currently, there are at least three landfills and 20 open-air dumpsters in the State of Mexico being investigated for breaking environmental rules, according to local authorities.

Trujillo Anell says that the landfill is going through a sanitation process and that the next step is to build a retaining wall.

In regards to the mountains of waste, the officials said that next weekend, it'll be covered with dirt and rocks.
 

Artículo

Mexico: Poor waste management and recycling culture

In Mexico, the majority of landfills are managed by private companies
Mexico: Poor waste management and recycling cultureMexico: Poor waste management and recycling culture

gm
 

Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal