Christian Manrique, Towards Zero Waste

Christian Manrique’s new post

With this post Christian Manrique underlines the global trend to preserve the planet. A change is needed. Advancing towards landfills elimination becomes determinant. An example is the European waste directive. Transformation will only be possible if the main institutions and regulators get involved.

“Every morning I wake up early to dig in the surrounding garbage mountains to feed my children. I do it before I start my job searching for things to sell. Sometimes it becomes very difficult. In some occasions I send my children diving into the river for the coconuts people has thrown in as an offering. Waters are polluted, but they need to be fed. People ask me why I live there if it stinks so bad. I answer to them that I don’t like it, but it is my job. A lot of people laugh, I do not. One afternoon, going back to my plastic and cardboard hut my life changed forever. There was a waste landslide. My five children died smashed by a two tones garbage mountain”.

It might seem like the beginning of a fiction story, but it is not. It is, as Christian Manrique points out, the reality thousands of people face at the landfill settlements of Koshe or Reppi in the outskirts of Addis Abbeba, Ethiopya; of Chureca in Managua, Nicaragua; of Jakarta, Indonesia; or of the one at el Gramacho in Rio of Janeiro, Brazil. We might think that this will never happen to us, that this only can be watched in films or in underdeveloped countries. Nevertheless, in the world, as United Nations reminds, by 2010 four million daily waste tones were generated; by 2025 six million daily tones will be reached; and by 2100 it could be close to twelve million daily tones.

Although these numbers are astonishing, it is almost improbable to face a generalized landfill settlement expansion all over the world. Notwithstanding, the figures show a reality that, as Christian Manrique brings up, must be taken care of immediately. These growing proportions are quite similar to what it is going on in the EU. A third of city waste is directed to landfills. Recycling affects only a minimum percentage. Average recycling rate in Europe is 44%; and in Spain, it reaches 31%, as the last report (2014) from de European Commission confirms.

New EU directive

Such and advance, as Christian Manrique remarks, on legislation from the EU is a good example of determination. On December 18, 2017, the European Council and the Parliament reached a temporary agreement on Circular Economy, the waste directives, which were due to be passed in April.

These propositions on waste establish reduction goals and updated laws to guarantee better management, to thrive re-using and to improve recycling within the EU. Urban waste recycling obligation has been established on a 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and on a 65% by 2035.

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