I took these snapshots today during the recicladores rally on Plaza Bolivar. It wasn't a protest, since the recyclers, who scavenge thru the trash for stuff they can sell, are to be incorporated into Mayor Gustavo Petro's new garbage collection scheme, to be started in a week.
|A pair of affectionate horses.|
The big garbage companies are protesting various aspects of the scheme, including rules about who can deposit garbage in the city's Doña Juana landfill, which the companies call a restriction on free competition.
|A woman carries the banner of a recyclers' organization. |
The recyclers emphasize the ecological aspects
of their work, altho I suspect that for them
environmentalism is more practical than ideological.
But, hopefully, the plan will succeed, as many poor city residents survive by handling trash. And recycling is crucial for saving space in the landfill, which is expected to fill up next year, with no good alternative waiting.
This rally may also be one of the last mass appearances of Bogotá's iconic and curious zorreros, or horsecarts, on Plaza Bolivar. The city has tried to ban the carts numerous times previously, and Mayor Petro has vowed that they'll be off the streets by Feb. 1. Horsecart users I spoke to sounded resigned to the end of their way of life. I'm doubtful, however, since the last I heard the city didn't have the budget to buy the thousands of gasoline-powered tricycles promised as replacements. And, what will happen to all those poor unemployed horses?
City officials and animal welfare activists say that many of the horses are abused and overworked, which is certainly true. But I can't help feeling that the city fathers' real motive is their embarassment at this conspicous evidence of poverty and developing world conditions in a city they want to portray as modern and thriving.
|The sign says 'Up with Mayor Petro!'|
|Progresistas is Mayor Petro's political party.|
|A horsecart stands in front of City Hall, which wants to eliminate the horsecarts.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours