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Brazil has almost 3,000 garbage dumpsites and disposes of 30 million tonnes of untreated waste every year, which is enough to fill 210 football stadiums the size of Maracanã. This unprecedented data is from a study conducted by the Brazilian Association of Public Sanitation Companies (Abrelpe).
Around 77 million Brazilians are at risk of being exposed to diseases through water, food, or environmental contamination, according to the report.
The garbage dumpsites are highly polluting and should have been closed down in 2014. They affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food that is grown, and the cleanliness of the cities where we live.
There are more than 300 dumpsites in Bahia state, the highest number (per state) in Brazil. In Alagoas state, 95% of the waste is disposed of in open air. São Paulo state, the most populated state in Brazil, disposes of 14,000 tonnes of waste in dumpsites every day.
Cities are responsible for garbage collection, but 65% of them claim not to have the funds to put an end to the illegal dumpsites. A new deadline for the dumpsites to be cleared is being discussed in Congress.
What Can We Do?
– Avoid waste and reduce the amount of garbage we generate.
– Separate organic and inorganic matter.
– Towns should prepare areas for waste collection using waterproofing and sheets that would prevent the ground from being contaminated. These are the so-called landfills.
The Cost of a Dumpsite
R$ 3,6 billion are spent to maintain it. The amount is 3 times higher than what is required to put the waste to the right use.
– 387 kilos is the average waste generated per capita in Brazil annually. This means that we generate 1.06 kilos of trash every day. This is equivalent to the weight of two adult female lions.
– 58% of the disposal goes to landfills. In Japan, the rate is 96%. In Nigeria, it is 40%.
Why are open-air garbage dumpsites dangerous?
Why do so many dumpsites still exist if they are prohibited?