Closure of one of the World’s biggest Dumpsites

Following the recent closure of the Estrutural dumpsite serving 5 million people in Brazil’s capital city, a partnership between ISWA and ABRELPE, aims to ensure the closure of further dumpsites in the country.
credit: Agencia Brasilia/DF.2

ISWA (The International Solid Waste Association), and ABRELPE (The Brazilian Association of Public Cleansing and Waste Management Companies) have taken their #closedumpsites campaign to Brazil, home to some of the world’s largest and most dangerous dumpsites.

ISWA is campaigning to close the 50 biggest dumpsites in the world, a major source of pollution to the environment and a health threat to millions of people.

ISWA’s report “A Roadmap for Closing Waste Dumpsites”, highlighted the Estrutural dumpsite in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city, as one of the world’s largest and most threatening to human health.

credit: WasteAid UK

The closure of the Estrutural dumpsite has given ISWA’s campaign its first success story. The report and the campaign was used to inspire the city of Brasilia to close down one of the largest dumpsites in Latin America and quite possibly the world.

Brasilia has hosted this huge open dump for more than 50 years and the regional government, supported by the conclusions of the ISWA report, took the decision to finally inaugurate an engineered sanitary landfill to replace the old dumpsite, which will be closed completely in 18 months.

“The governmental decision to inaugurate a Sanitary Landfill in Brasília is very important and represents the first step for the effective closure of the Estrutural dumpsite. Closing dumpsites is our main battle nowadays, because it is fundamental and the main solution for the improvement of the environment and health in any community, and a major contribution towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals recently set by the UN”, says ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos.

There is still work to be done. Brazil sends circa 30 million tons of municipal waste per year to inadequate dumpsites.

Inspired by ISWA’s global campaign and by the benefits arising from setting up collection and sorting facilities, both ISWA and ABRELPE announced a partnership with the aim of assisting and coordinating the closure of five more waste dumpsites still in operation in the country.

“With this partnership we want to ensure the closure of the activities in these dumpsites, and their substitution by adequate waste destination processes, which includes recovery and recycling of the discarded materials and the social inclusion of the affected population”, notes ABRELPE’s President Carlos Silva Filho.

For the entities, the final closure of a dumpsite requires a system of infrastructure and alternatives, together with an integrated waste management plan, institutional and administrative capacity, financial resources and social support.

According to Silva Filho, the results of this national campaign will bring information, learning and capacity building to be used in almost every other municipality that disposes its waste inappropriately.

The closure of all dumpsites in Brazil would represent an estimated reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to taking seven million cars off the streets. This means improving the health conditions of 76 million people, who are directly affected by the current inadequate waste management practices. Formalizing recycling cold also bring an additional revenue of around R$ 2-3 billion per year (c. €895 million) with the recovery and use of recyclable materials which today are sent to dumpsites.


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