By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s Jardim Gramacho landfill, Latin America’s largest covering a land mass of 1.3 million square meters, officially closes today, June 3rd. Previously scheduled for a May 6th closure, the 35 year-old landfill located in Duque de Caixas has long been controversial and considered responsible for delivering tons of contaminants into Guanabara Bay.

Jardim Gramacho closes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Jardim Gramacho was one of the world's largest landfills, photo by D’Arcy Norman/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The landfill is to be transformed into a methane recapture plant (operated by Novo Gramacho Energia Ambiental S.A.), creating fuel from the gases emitted from the massive rot.  

According to the Associação dos Catadores do Aterro Metropolitano de Jardim Gramacho website, eighteen percent of the proceeds from the sale of methane gas generated from landfill will be used for environmental restoration of the Jardim Gramacho neighborhood.

The future of  approximately 3,000 workers (referred to as “catadores”) that collected recyclables from the dump site has been particularly troubling for observers.

According to O Globo, approximately 1,700 catadores will receive a lump-sum payment of R$14,000 with the opportunity for job placement training after the Gramacho closing.  The registration process for the payment has already create problems.  At a Friday registration in Duques de Caixa, hundreds of workers, tired from waiting in line, began to protest.

Jardim Gramacho closure comes just in time for the arrival of the Rio +20 Earth Summit.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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