This week’s feature article investigates initiatives that are promising to generate green energy from rubbish. As one of the most visible problems on the streets of Buenos Aires, garbage is an issue generating a lot of debate.
The Indy took to the streets to ask porteños (and visiting Latin Americans) what they thought of the garbage situation in Buenos Aires and if they felt it could be resolved with greener garbage initiatives.
Portraits by Beatrice Murch
Gisele Teixeira, 42, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The garbage situation in Buenos Aires is very bad. For me it is the problem of Buenos Aires. This is the fault of a lack of environmental education and initiative from the government. The collection of garbage needs to be more organised.
I don’t think making energy is the solution. They need to reduce the production of garbage, not to burn it, to make energy. The government needs to take action but it also has to come from the people, situation where both need to take action.
Rodrigo Martínez 46, Professor, Santiago, Chile
The [rubbish] situation here can definitely be improved. I have seen many bags of garbage here, and garbage on the ground. It is not nice to look at, and it is bad for the environment. I haven’t seen any areas to recycle garbage. In Santiago, there are recycling bins, the garbage can all be separated. Here people don’t have this idea, and what I’ve seen is a lot of garbage on the street because of this.
In Chile, they make natural gas out of the garbage, they put it in the ground, basically make a compost out of it. But in Chile, the garbage is separated already, and Santiago is a much smaller city. This has to be figured out first.
Gaston Baelo 25, Student, Cordoba
The garbage situation could be much better here. But it is a question of the people. It takes a lot of money to resolve, to do everything, a lot of infrastructure. But simply it is a situation.
If we can recycle and separate everything, I think we can make energy from it. But this is a political situation. Really, the solution is to consume less and recycle the garbage.
Osvaldo Marzorati 70, Retired Lawyer, Buenos Aires
The only way for this situation to improve is to remove the people who are separating the garbage. There is no other way out. All the cartoneros, they are making a mess of the city, leaving things open so the dogs destroy the bags and spread it everywhere. The city is full of shit because of this. This is a political issue, [the cartoneros] came at the darkest hour of the crisis here in order to get some sort of a job. They collect for others, they get a wage, they have to work every day- rain or not, cold or not, but in reality some, I don’t know who, is organising getting all the money.
You can make energy from it, sure, but the problem is the separation of the things. Why does it have to be done in the city? Remove everything out, and do it wherever the owners of the land have it. The garbage is opened up and classified, this classification should be done elsewhere, out of the city limits, or in a special place where this can be handled, not on every corner of the city. That’s why it is an unclean city.
Juliana Seranjeiola, 20, Student, La Plata
I think that it is a situation that will take a lot of people to change. The government says they can make energy, change the situation, but they don’t do it.
This is the most logical solution: take the garbage, use it to make energy, it’s the most natural for everyone. It is definitely possible to do this – yes it is possible. But how much does it cost? It takes a lot of people working together.