|El Tiempo reports, on the lower left, that Bogotá will host a sustainability conference, and on the upper right that Bogotá is expanding its landfill, named Doña Juana.|
|Does this make sense? Tossing|
garbage into a 'Zero Garbage' truck.
Garbage policy has marked Mayo Gustavo Petro's administration. Earlier this year, the procurador got Petro temporarily ousted because the mayor had supposedly endangered public health by mismanaging garbage collection. Now, there are fewer mountains of trash on the sidewalk - but the mountains of trash are piling up in the city's landfill, Doña Juana. Much of that material consists of packaging that was used once, but will fill the landfill for thousands of years. Other stuff could be reused, composted or recycled - but filling the landfill - if only the city bothered.
A Bogotá official boasted that the Rio + 20 conference is proof of the city's green policies.
|A 'Zero Garbage' garbage truck, full of garbage.|
I'd suggest that once the conference attendees see the city's enormous, smog-spewing traffic jams, they'll ask why the city has not instituted a traffic congestion charge or created high-occupancy vehicle lanes. If they take a whiff of the Rio Bogotá, they might ask why, despite plan after plan and multiple court orders, the river's still an open sewer. And, god forbid visitors should visit the Doña Juana landfill, because then they'd ask why Bogotá lacks an effective recycling program or policies to discourage the use of styrofoam, disposable bottles and other one-use landfill-packing materials.
The Petro administration's main contribution to revolutionizing Bogotá's garbage policy has been to write 'Zero Garbage' on the city's trucks, uniforms and even garbage bags.
According to an interview with a Dutch solid waste official, Holland recycles 80% of its waste and incinerates an additional 18% to generate energy. Bogotá's statistics are almost the opposite: it recycles only 3.9% of its solid waste, according to El Espectador.
The key to Holland's success, says the visiting official, is to make manufacturers and retailers financially responsible for their products' waste material.
|A stuffed full 'Zero Garbage' trash bag.|
|A worker in a 'Zero Garbage' uniform collects garbage on Ave. Septima.|
Plastic drink bottles, generally used just once and then thrown away, are filling up the city's landfill. These pop drinks aren't good for us or for the environment, but the city subsidizes their use by doing the manufacturers the favor of carrying them away and disposing them for free.
Why doesn't Bogotá tax their use, as some other cities have? What about a plastic bag tax or even a ban?
|How much space will these stacks of plastic bottles occupy in the landfill?|
|Stacks of styrofoam-packaged lunches for sale in the Universidad Nacional. Tomorrow, the packages will be in the landfill, where they'll stay for a thousand years.|
|Styrofoam packaging spills out of a trash can on La Candelaria's 'Environmental Axis' avenue.|
|Sacks of organic garbage wait for collection near the Parque Nacional. This stuff could all be composted - but don't expect it to be.|
|Trash cans by any other name. Labeled recycling bins in Parque de la Independencia.|
|A man, likely a homeless drug addict, sifts thru trash on Plaza San Victorino for anything that's usable.|
|A little while later, the area is cleaner.|
|This old man works every day along Ave. Septima, collecting cardboard and wood to resell.|
|He could teach the city father's a lesson.|