Mexico City closes one of world's largest landfills

In an effort to build a greener waste management system, Mexico City has closed one of the world's largest landfills, but the transition has been messy.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

In an effort to build a greener waste management system, Mexico City has closed one of the world's largest landfills, known as Bordo Poniente.

The landfill, which was built to take rubble following a massive earthquake in 1985, now holds 76 million tons of garbage. Closure of the 927-acre landfill is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tons annually, city officials say.

The city has plans to capture methane from the landfill to power an estimated 35,000 homes.

But that doesn't mean the trash flow ends. The Associated Press reports that the transition to a modern waste management system has been messy:

Like other mega-cities around the world, Mexico City is struggling to move from the informal garbage collection systems of the past to modern waste management designed to drastically cut the volume of material that ends up in landfills.

Mexico City officials count some 1,000 illegal dumping sites in a metropolis that generates more than 12,000 tons of trash a day. That includes some trash that is trucked in from neighboring towns in this sprawling metro area of more than 21 million — one of the world's largest. [...]

"They haven't retrofitted the trucks, they haven't educated the public, they haven't reduced the amount of trash generated. Today we're the same or worse than we were five years ago," said Ramon Ojeda, president of the Mexican Academy for Environmental Rights. "It's a fiasco for the city government."

Nonetheless, the city would eventually like to reach its ambitious goal of increasing the amount of trash that's recycled by 79 percent.

It's a step in the right direction, but the city has a long way to go in building a greener waste management system.

Photo: sicoactiva/Flickr

Mexico City fights trash pileup after closing dump [Associated Press]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards