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City workers remove piled up garbage that accumulated over the Christmas weekend in front of the Monument to Benito Juarez, one of Mexico's most important statesmen. (AP)

Closure Of Massive Landfill Leaves Trash Piling Up In Mexico City

by Eyder Peralta
Dec 28, 2011

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A woman covers her face as she walks past piled up garbage in downtown Mexico City.

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When a metropolis the size of Mexico City, with its 25-million plus residents, has a trash collection issue, it very quickly starts looking like a post-apocalyptic mess. Take a look at these pictures taken in the vicinity of the Monument to Benito Juarez:

The trash buildup reminds us of what happened in New York City, when it suspended trash collection in January after a massive winter storm dumped more than two feet of snow on the city.

In Mexico City, however, the problem started last week, when the city decided to close Bordo Poniente, one of the largest landfills in the world. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the city closed the landfill in a bid to transform itself from a notoriously polluted city to "one of the world's 'greenest' big cities.'" The Times adds: "Resting place for 72 million tons of waste since it was created after the devastating 1985 earthquake, the site will be converted into a recycling and composting center, announced Mayor Marcelo Ebrard."

The problem, reports Mexico's El Universal, is that the closure happened 12 days ahead of schedule and no one bothered to detail where workers would deposit the 12,600 tons of trash that comes out of Mexico City daily.

The municipalities around Mexico City are vowing not become the capital city's wasteland and garbage trucks have had to wait more than 12 hours to get rid of their load.

The result, reports BBC Mundo, are streets and sidewalks — including in the historic district — overflowing with trash.

"My garden is filled with bags full of food waste and it smells awful," Rosalía Cruz told BBC Mundo. "If they don't take it soon, I'm going to throw it on the street like I've seen others do."

The city told El Universal that trash collection "has normalized" and they're working around the clock to get the trash out of the streets.

Correction at 4:29 p.m. ET. An earlier version of this post said Mexico City produced 12.6 tons of trash daily. That number is actually 12,600 tons of trash.

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