Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Home for Used Tires

Displaced people wait on a Median Strip.
You'd be angry, too, if you were out on the street and your potential home was occupied by...discarded tires.

Displaced people tossed tires onto the sidewalk.
(Photo; El Tiempo)
That was why a group of people who said they'd been displaced by Colombia's violence occupied a vacant building behind the Central Cemetery today and tossed the used tires stored inside out into the street.

Workers move tires out of the building.
Where will they take them? To an illegal dump?
The situation captures the intersection of two Colombian disfunctions: the lack of solutions for people displaced by the internal armed conflict - some say that Colombia has up to six million displaced people, perhaps the second-largest number in the world. And Bogotá's inability to find a solution to the problem of used tires, which are tossed onto sidewalks, median strips and parks. In this case, this vacant building had been filled with old tires, which waited there for some homeless person to crawl inside, light a fire and start a viciously polluting conflagration. Other cities have found ways to reuse, or at least responsibly dispose of, used tires. But that costs money, and Bogotá officials don't want to offend the tire companies by forcing them to charge deposits.

As for the displaced people, they charge that the government has failed them on promises to provide new homes, and are demanding a solution.
Much of the building is still packed with tires, which generate huge pollution when burned.
A displaced man from El Chocó tells how he was driven from his home by paramilitaries.

Used tires wait on a sidwalk along 26th Street, near the National University.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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