Managers of Brazilian landfills are facing a daunting task as the amount of refuse sent to public and private sites have increased for the second consecutive year due to a lack of recycling initiatives and waste reduction. According to a study released by the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning and Special Waste (ABRELPE), Friday, a total of 12.9 million tons of urban waste were sent to landfills and garbage sites without any prior treatment in 2017.
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These figures represent a 4.2 percent increase over the amount of waste these sites received in 2016 and about 18 percent of all waste deposited in the country, without being treated or sorted.
According to the report, there has also been an increase in the number of municipalities that send their garbage to these places, jumping from 1,559 in 2016 to 1,610 in 2017, according to Agencia Brasil/EBC.
The president of ABRELPE, Carlos Silva Filho, said the phenomenon is worrisome. He recalled that this type of waste disposal has been banned since 1981 and was turned into an environmental crime in 1998.
"The worst form of disposal still survives," he said in reference to the open landfills and dump sites, "and receives more garbage from one year to the next."
Silva Filho said the report analyzed the reasons why municipalities use open-air landfills and other garbage dump sites. "Lack of money in the municipal coffers. The moment these funds dried up, in order to not cut other services that are supposedly more noticeable to society, they cut the cost of the final destination" of garbage he explained.
In June, Gilson Pimentel, the mayor of Murutinga do Sul, Sao Paulo was arrested for using an area closed by the Environmental Company of the State of São Paulo (Cetesb) as a waste dump site. Soon after, a sanitary emergency was decreed in the municipality due to a lack of designated areas to deposit garbage.