By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Latin America’s largest landfill site, Jardim Gramacho in Duque de Caixas, is set to shut down on May 6th. The closure, which was announced by Mayor Eduardo Paes earlier this week, will come just in time for Rio to host to the Rio+20 UN environmental conference.
Putting an end to decades of environmental strain, the landfill will be transformed in to a park, however the government’s waste department, Companhia Municipal de Limpeza Urbana (COMLURB), has estimated that it will take at least fifteen years for the land to fully recover.
The closure means that many of the people working at the dump site, those who trawl through the landfill recovering materials for recycling, will be out of a job.
O Globo reported that there have been over 3,000 people working at the landfill, in appalling conditions, seeking out cans, plastics, paper and other recyclable materials, in up to 10,000 tons of waste dumped there each day.
It has been reported that compensation money will be awarded to some of the workers there, but disputes have arisen as to how many are eligible. Municipal secretary of Conservation, Carlos Roberto Osório stated, “For six months, the city will pay a scholarship and R$500 to reorganize the pickers.”
The landfill site only receives 25 percent the amount of waste it used to, and the people working there, who used to earn up to R$3,000 a month, are reportedly now struggling to make more than R$800 a month for the recycled materials they collect.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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