Today is still very far from being the day of happiness which all human beings yearn for, but certainly, bringing to light and to memory the tragic events that happened 26 years ago makes us reflect better on where we are today.
In the name of the National Association of Waste Pickers of Colombia, we would like to send you special greetings and blessings and a big hug.
On January 1, a fire broke out in the municipal landfill of León, Nicaragua. According to Red Lacre, bad management by the municipal government and Cielo Group, the company responsible for the landfill’s operations, was the cause of the fire.
In December, Sujeylin Isabel Ordoñez Quesada, a waste picker with “Cooperativa de Recuperadores del Pacifico R.L (COOPEREPA)” of Costa Rica, sent an email to Red Lacre (Latin American Network of Waste Pickers) requesting advice about what actions to take in regards to the closure of the Parque Ambiental de Garabito landfill and the likely loss of the livelihoods of the 18 families working there.
The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Revuelta Verde recently released a report on the struggle against waste incineration in cement factories in Mexico. The United Nations´ Clean Development Mechanism (carbon trading scheme) could approve a proposal for a UK-based company to incinerate waste in a cement kiln in Huichapan
“Chronicles of a struggle for inclusion: The December 2012 garbage crisis of Bogota” shows organized waste pickers promptly taking actions to reduce the impact of the garbage crisis in Bogota and giving an account of the series of unfortunate events and bad decisions that led to it, and of their struggles and victories throughout time to secure their rights and livelihoods.
On January 2, waste picker cooperatives and the Buenos Aires government reached an historic solid waste management agreement.
In the city of Bogotá, Colombia, waste pickers of the Recyclers’ Association of Bogota (ARB) have been organizing themselves for more than two decades. ARB is one of the oldest independent waste picker-run associations in the world. But the association and its 2,500 members are not being recognized by the current municipal government of Bogotá. Their livelihoods are threatened by the interests of big companies and members of the government who are trying to take over the profitable business of solid waste management.
This is the English translation of the petition for an inclusive recycling in Bogotá, Colombia.
Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá: I want your guarantee of real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.
I want him to ensure the real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.”On December 18th 2012, the department of the district government which is responsible for waste management in Bogotá, UAESP, plans to deliver new contracts to fictitious waste picker organizations. It is demonstrating once again a lack of compliance with its agreements, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of waste pickers and their families.” Read the full petition in English.
Juliene Mangni, is one of two waste pickers from African countries participating at Expocatadores. This is her first trip outside of Benin. She is the president of an association of 366 women waste pickers in her city of Cotonou, Benin. She and the other women waste pickers sell the plastics, cans and cardboards they collect at a large market. Juliene is trying to improve the situation for the waste pickers. They lack basic equipment for waste picking. Another major issue is that the local government doesn’t acknowledge the waste pickers and provides no support.
Expocatadores is an event for business, experience exchanges, disseminating knowledge and technology for efficient and inclusive waste management. The event, which runs from Nov. 28-30, is hosting 1,500 waste pickers from 25 Brazilian states as well as visitors and government leaders. On Nov. 29, former president Lula Inácio da Silva spoke in the main auditorium. There has also been an international presence, with participation from waste pickers from 12 countries in Latin America as well as India, Benin, and Kenya.
Also happening during Expocatadores is the 3rd National and International Gathering of Waste Pickers, the goal of which is to exchange experiences. The themes debated in the technical seminars focus on the implementation of the National Waste Policy, the closing of open dumps and waste management plans.