By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city that will host the Rio+20, the UN conference on sustainable development, in June, recycles only three percent of its waste (252 tonnes generated daily from 8,403) according to recent reports. The government’s Companhia Municipal de Limpeza Urbana (COMLURB) only separates 22.68 tons, or 0.27 percent, and the other 2.73 percent of the recycling is happening by individuals or groups working to collect materials from the trash.

Rio's Jardim Gramacho (Gramacho Gardens), considered the largest landfill in Latin America, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Rio's Jardim Gramacho (Gramacho Gardens), considered the largest landfill in Latin America, image recreation.

While many cities in the world struggle to develop effective recycling programs, Rio has a lot of catching up to do in comparison to European capitals, who on average recycle forty percent of their waste.

The reason for this, according to waste specialist Emílio Eigenheer, is the fact that recycling is more demanding on citizens and a financial drain for the state.

He fully recognizes the challenges faced and explains “I agree with COMLURB, without heavy investments recycling does not hold.”

The issue of recycling in Brazil is one of the main points due to be raised at the upcoming UN Rio+20 conference on June 20th. State Secretary of environmental economy, Suzana Kahn says that the government’s role in promoting recycling will be a major topic for discussion at the conference due to be held at Riocentro.

Kahn goes on to add “The Rio+20 will discuss the need for the government to create an institutional demand for recyclable materials. The State of Rio will discuss the foundations of a decree to encourage greater environmental awareness.”

In the meantime, the Rio city council have assured that plans have already been put in to action to improve the situation concerning waste disposal. According to secretary of conservation, Carlos Roberto Osorio, recycling plants are currently being installed to aid the council in their public duties regarding waste collection.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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  1. I am sure that Rio faces many of the problems faced by many other modern cities. I hope the leadership there looks at other cicites to see what works and what doesn’t.


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