Home PlanetYucaEnvironment Merida Landfill on the verge of collapse

Merida Landfill on the verge of collapse

by Yucatan Times
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The problem of the final disposal of waste generated in the city of Mérida is gradually becoming more acute to the extent that every day 1,300 tons of garbage arrive at the municipal landfill, whose operation and usefulness arouses suspicion among residents of surrounding communities.

These have been affected by fires that have occurred and the lack of sufficient and reliable information on the operation of the materials recovery and compost generation plants that are supposed to be operating in Merida.

Last March, the Regional Observatory of Governance and Public Policies of the UNAM in Yucatán (ORGA), in collaboration with the Atmospheric Observatory, the Mérida unit of the University Network of Atmospheric Observatories of the UNAM (RUOA), launched the “Dialogues participatory on garbage management in Mérida”.

Recently, some participants in these dialogues offered a press conference at the facilities of the Peninsular Center for Humanities and Social Sciences (Cephcis) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, to present the proposals that arose as a result of this exercise of collective participation.

On their behalf, their spokesperson, Dr. Eliana Arancibia Gutiérrez explained that “as a result of the dialogues, all participants gained knowledge, became more aware and increased their sense of responsibility regarding the problem that garbage management represents in Mérida.”

“And most importantly: collaboratively and from our citizen vision, we took on the task of putting forward proposals to solve this problem, under the premise of academy-society-government co-responsibility to build possible solutions and accompany their implementation and improvement.”

As explained through a call open to all citizens, disseminated in local media and social networks, a panel of almost 30 citizens of different ages, occupations and knowledge was formed, motivated to exchange ideas, opinions and proposals around this serious environmental problem.

The dialogues took place on March 9, 16, 23 and April 27, 2024 at the National School of Higher Studies of the UNAM’s Merida unit.

As part of the activities, a meeting was held between the participating citizens and a panel of scientific experts on the subject, made up of Daniel Rosas Sánchez (Uady-RUOA UNAM), Liliana San Pedro Cedillo (Uady), Emilio de los Ríos Ibarra ( UNAM), Ingrith León Cabrera (Zero Basura Yucatán), Omar Rodríguez Gamboa (Uady) and Javier Guillén Mallette (CICY).

Collaboration between academia and citizens

The dialogues have been an experience of collaboration and mutual learning between academia and citizens.

One of the most disturbing data revealed by the dialogues with the experts is that the Mérida landfill, in a short time, went from receiving 800 tons of waste per day to 1,300.

Without a waste separation strategy, everything indicates that this space is on the verge of collapse or will no longer be able to continue concentrating waste.

Among the citizens’ proposals to address the problem is to call for the creation of a commission to allocate sufficient public resources, made up of neighborhood representatives, scientific and technological researchers, businessmen, collectors, recyclers and government officials, whose main functions are:

The establishment of a set of key indicators to clarify the problem of solid waste management, as well as to monitor the impact of the solution actions that are implemented.

The making of binding decisions for municipal and state authorities on the solutions with the greatest impact on these problems, based on the best national and international practices; monitor compliance and periodic evaluation of the implemented actions, based on independent scientific studies; and propose, where appropriate, corrective measures and corresponding sanctions.

Likewise, ensure transparency in the decision-making processes and attention to these problems, publicly and periodically informing citizens about the progress towards the comprehensive and sustainable management of solid waste in the state of Yucatán and its capital city.

It is proposed to rigorously apply the Regulations for the Comprehensive Management of Solid Waste of the Municipality of Mérida regarding the separation of waste into organic and inorganic waste in all homes, educational and commercial establishments, and work centers.

For this purpose, citizens must be trained about these practices, including the production of compost and its use in urban gardens with the organic fraction.

Likewise, access to green points for the delivery of recoverable residual materials must be facilitated.

Regarding the Mérida landfill, information on its operation and future capacity is requested to be made public, as well as to make known whether the waste classification and composting plants for the organic fraction are currently enabled. In the latter case, report the use given to the biogas generated.

It is proposed to advance towards the circular economy in Yucatán by encouraging productive project undertakings for the collection, reuse and treatment of urban solid waste and special management.

At the same time, promote environmental training and education as a public policy throughout the state and at all levels, establishing alliances between academia-society, companies-governments.

It is proposed to update the current legislation on these matters to establish:

a) The responsibility of medium and large-scale industrial companies regarding the final destination of all packaging materials with which their products are marketed. Including the commitment of those industries that generate waste that is difficult to deal with (debris, tires and others), so that they can be recovered and treated properly. Likewise, encourage these companies to present public and auditable reports on the impact of their activities on the environment.

b) The obligation for concessionaire collection companies to submit an annual public report on their progress in the culture of recycling, waste separation and recovery, as well as their differentiated collection.

“Our proposals are born from interest in the common good of the population of the state of Yucatán. For this reason, they will be delivered to the candidates competing for the governorship, mayorship and representation in the congress of the state of Yucatán in this electoral year 2024,” Dr. Arancibia Gutiérrez concluded.

TYT Newsroom

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