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By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The production of garbage in Brazilian households has grown by 29 percent between 2003 and 2014, while the population only grew by six percent during that period. Also not in line with the increased creation of waste was its adequate treatment, as only 58.4 percent of the 2014 total ended up in regulated landfills.

An illegal dumpster near São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
An illegal dumpster near São Gonçalo, photo by Luiz Morier/Imprensa RJ.

More than 41 percent of the 78.6 million tons of solid waste generated in the country in 2014 were dumped in dumpsters and unregulated landfills. According to ABRELPE, the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning and Special Waste Companies which published the data, these dumpsters are inadequate and constitute a risk for the environment and the health of the population.

In 2013, the percentage of not adequately treated waste had been at 41.7 percent. This means that more than 78 million Brazilians, or 38.5 percent of the country’s population, don’t have access to adequate waste treatment services and can dump their waste in facilities deemed safe. Furthermore, more than twenty million people don’t have a regular garbage collection nearby.

Per day, the average Brazilian creates 1.062kg of garbage. The total volume produced increased by 2.9 percent between 2013 and 2014, while the collection of the waste improved by 3.2 percent.

Recycling has also increased in Brazil, by around 7.2 percentage points. In 2010, only 57.6 percent of the towns had some recycling or separate collection initiatives. In 2014, this number was already at 64.8 percent.

The study by ABRELPE was compiled with information from 400 towns in Brazil with a combined population of 91.7 million people.

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