Friday, February 13, 2009

Big Dump in Mexico City

I'm headed to Mexico City for two weeks. I was there for just a couple of days a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised: it had a great subway system, interesting museums, and a really nice pedestrian feel. I thought, "I need to go back there." Now is my chance.

These pictures were taken at Mexico City Airport with Sonja, a globe-trotting friend. We got of the plane and immediately noticed trash cans with "orgánica" and "inorgánica" compartments. Mexico City composts? Almost. Notice how the "organic" section of the trash can is lined with a black plastic bag. Also, both compartments of the bin, like all of the bins I peeked into, are filled with a mix of materials (plastic, paper, organics, and wrappers). Translation: sorting isn't happening. Nice start... but lots of room to grow.

Actually, there's not much room to grow.

The dump is maxed out, and a threat. Mexico City's 20 million residents generate 12,500 tons of garbage every day. According to a recent story on the dump, the pressure from the trash mounds threatens to rupture a major drainage canal. If ruptured, the airport and surrounding neighborhoods will get flooded with "stinking effluent and grime". (Yes, I think two weeks will be just right. Then, get me out of there.)

It sounds like Mexico City is circling around solutions that involve organic diversion and greater recycling efforts. There is very little discussion of waste reduction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith!
I finally found your blog!
I noticed the organica/inorganica bins in Mexico City, and also noticed the styrofoam in the organica section. But I also saw airport workers tapping or dumping the organica stuff into a large bin and putting the plastic and styrofoam in with the inorganica garbage. I don't know if this happens all the time, but at least sometimes..
And yes, people could learn to do the separation themselves; that would help.