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Mexico City – As one of the planet’s greatest crushes of humanity, the sprawling and chaotic Mexican capital hemorrhages garbage.
Mexico City’s 9 million people discard 12,000 tons of refuse daily, with the 13 millon inhabitants of its suburbs shedding still far more. Handling the waste long since has overwhelmed local and federal officials, as it has in most parts of the developing world.
Now, under federal orders, the city government has closed the 927-acre sanitary landfill where most of the capital’s refuse – as much as 76 million tons of it – has been buried during the past 26 years.
Good idea, but …
Officials and environmentalists hail the shutdown as a crucial step in both curbing the metropolis’ suffocating greenhouse gases and in directing Mexico and other developing countries toward better waste management.
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, whose government had sought to delay or scuttle the closing, has called it “one of the most important environmental actions for the entire country.”
“If it can be done here,” Ebrard said, “it can be replicated elsewhere.”
But the landfill, called the Bordo Poniente, was closed Dec. 19 without definite plans as to where to reroute the city’s offal. Nearby cities are unwilling or unable to take much of it.