Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rio Azul landfill finally closes

Angela Cano, a 52-year-old Nicaraguan, carries a bag of recyclables collected from the trash at the Rio Azul landfill in San Jose, Costa Rica, July 23, 2007. Around 80 scavengers who made a living wading through the garbage at the country's largest landfill, were left out of work when the landfill was officially closed yesterday by the government.


It's about time my country closed the Rio Azul landfill! I congratulate Oscar Arias and Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila for managing to do what many other administrations failed to do: close Rio Azul once and for all.
Although the federation that used to be in charge of the landfill is appealing the decision, and trying to get Rio Azul re-opened for another 18 months, the outcome will very likely be to keep the landfill closed.

Even if the place temporarily reopens most of the municipalities that used to send their waste trucks to Rio Azul already announced that they would not do it again because they already signed contracts to have their tons of garbage taken to other places.
Rio Azul's closure was long overdue because the landfill had been functioning beyond its maximum capabilities for over a decade, making it a health hazard not only to the people working there, but those who live close by. A lack of new landfills, legal bureaucracy and political interests had managed to keep the landfill open for all these years.

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