Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Toxic Assault on Bogotá's Breathers

Smoke billows from an alley near Jimenez Ave. today. This stuff might be ending up in your lungs. 
I passed this environmental and health tragedy today on Jimenez Ave., billowing up from an alley beside the old train station. Homeless people routinely use the alley to sift thru stuff they've scavenged from the trash. Sometimes, they find - or steal - things like electric cables, and burn off the plastic to get at the sellable wire inside. The same's true, I understand, for old tires. Or, they may find burning a convenient way to clear out the alley when if fills up with trash.

Either way, burning plastic and other materials generates highly toxic fumes, terrible for the environment and everyone's health.

After the thick, black smoke had billowed for a while, some cops appeared - to do who knows what? By that time, the burner had undoubtedly fled - to gather more trash to burn another day.

Scavengers burn something on
26th St. near the Central Cemetery. 
Also today, I saw a group of people burning something on 26th St. near the Central Cemetery - in full view of everybody passing by, including the police.

Scavenging and recycling is good, but not when it poisons the air and water.

The evident apathy toward such small public fires, which are very bad, makes inevitable horrendous conflagurations like the one I saw today on Jimenez.

This public hazard will continue until the public and authorities shake off their apathy and crack down on public burning - as well as vehicles and other pollution sources.

For way too long, Bogotá has considered its air to be a trash dump.

Check out this video, in Spanish, denouncing pollution in Bogotá. (Video sobre contaminacion en Bogotá.)

Related posts: Pollution: We see it, but they don't.

Fighting for the Right to Pollute.
In Bogotá, Not All Smoke Is Equal

I returned to the alley off of Jimenez this evening and found it full of trash - ready to be burnt. 
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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