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Yucatán, a pioneer in sustainability and waste management in Mexico

by Sofia Navarro
1 comment

Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal inaugurated the infrastructure and equipment of the Metropolitan System for Waste Management, a unique model in Mexico. This system addresses the solid waste issue in Progreso, Kanasín, Tixpéual, Ucú, Umán, and Mérida. These municipalities account for over 60% of Yucatán’s garbage generation. With this initiative, the state becomes a pioneer and progresses towards becoming a more sustainable place with a more efficient waste collection and management service.

During a visit to the transfer station in Umán, Vila Dosal oversaw the preparations and provided equipment. This included 3 compacting trucks, 1 roll-on truck, 4 transfer boxes, 2 tractor-trailers, and a pair of mini-loaders. These additions will contribute to the operation of the plan, which involves closing open-air landfills, establishing transfer stations, promoting differentiated waste collection, and upgrading garbage collection. This transition will lead from having 6 landfills to just one, the Sanitary Landfill in the capital city of Yucatán.

With an investment of more than 24.8 million pesos, sanitation efforts are taking place in the landfills and transfer stations of Progreso, Umán, Tixpéual, and Ucú. The aim is to prevent waste dispersion and avoid negative impacts on public health and the environment. Additionally, 23.7 million pesos were used to strengthen the proper functioning of these sites.

Providing further details, the head of the Ministry of Sustainable Development (SDS), Sayda Melina Rodríguez Gómez, stated that private investment of 14.9 million pesos was used for sanitation and the establishment of a transfer station in Kanasín.

Furthermore, the official indicated that 173,060 cubic meters (m3) of waste have been sanitized in Progreso, Umán, and Kanasín. This quantity is equivalent to 7 Chichen Itza pyramids combined. She added that this system has attracted the interest of other municipalities and states in Mexico, such as Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Querétaro, who have approached to learn how it operates.

“Today, we make history by moving Mérida and its metropolitan area towards having a single final disposal site. This implies a reduction of 42,152 tons of equivalent CO2, which is equivalent to taking 206,000 vehicles off the road annually,” she pointed out.

Lastly, Rodríguez Gómez explained that these actions include the integration of a Decentralized Operating Organization for proper waste collection, treatment, and final disposal. In the short to medium term, the possibility of capitalizing on treated waste to generate added value, such as alternative fuels, will be explored.

After the delivery ceremony, the Governor planted one of the more than 9,000 trees that will be planted in these areas as part of the system. He also visited the Environmental Education Center “Recycling Workshop,” where a photographic exhibition showcases the transformation process. In addition to the recycling point, visitors can learn how to classify waste practically, take good practices home, and promote differentiated waste collection from their households.

Vila Dosal met with informal waste collectors from the community, who have been included in the Workshop. They have been trained and now create items for pets using recycled materials such as cardboard and fabrics donated by partnering companies.

Among the benefits of this project is the reduction of open-air landfill disposal, dropping from 10.4% to 0 in the area. It also strengthens proper waste disposal and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

All of this will contribute to a significant decrease in soil, water, and air pollution. It will lower public health risks and enhance waste management with more appropriate and approved practices. Moreover, it will set the stage for initiatives to promote a circular economy and a culture of sustainability among the citizens of Yucatán.

Through this system, new infrastructure has been implemented in the region, sanitation work and closure of the initial 3 landfills have been carried out, transfer stations have been built, and both the separation and valorization of materials have been promoted to prevent them from being discarded after a single use.

TYT Newsroom

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