Mexico City closes Bordo Poniente rubbish dump
- 20 December 2011
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
Mexico City has closed its main rubbish dump, Bordo Poniente, which is one of the world's biggest open-air landfills.
At its peak, hundreds of lorries were dumping more than 12,000 tons of waste each day.
That figure had already been cut in half this year by new recycling and composting plants, officials said.
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said the closure would significantly help reduce the capital's greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Ebrard said his government would seek bids to establish a plant to turn the methane gas given off by the accumulated waste into energy.
A cement company has agreed to buy 3,000 tons of dry waste daily to burn as fuel.
The composting plant is already providing organic fertiliser for the city's parks and gardens, as well as for farms in neighbouring areas.
There are also plans to reprocess building waste into construction materials.
The city government says it is negotiating with hundreds of people who scrape a living by scavenging for reusable material on the site to find them formal jobs in waste processing.
The Bordo Poniente dump was established on a dry lake bed in the 1980s, partly to handle rubble from the devastating Mexico City earthquake of 1985.
More than 70m tons of waste have been dumped there, and in places the rubbish lies more than 17m (56 feet) deep.
Its closure is being seen as a milestone in Mexico's City's efforts to make its waste management system one of the greenest in Latin America.