What’s a mayor to do when his municipality owes so much to a private garbage contractor that the latter suspends collection service?
He opens a clandestine and illegal open-air landfill.
That’s what Green Party Mayor Fernando Castellanos Cal y Mayor of Tuxtla Gutiérrez did after Proactiva, the company contracted to pick up the garbage in the capital city of Chiapas, halted collection.
While the company says the municipality owes it 300 million pesos (US $15.8 million) Castellanos’ office has accused Proactiva of blackmail, asserting that it had already paid 105 million pesos of its debt, 14 million of which was paid last month.
The municipality also filed a formal complaint against Proactiva before state environmental authorities that culminated with the official shutdown of a landfill operated by the garbage collection firm.
The conflict having reached an impasse, Castellanos decided to bypass Proactiva and hire local truckers to pick up the trash and dump it in an alternative location.
But dumping garbage in the new location was deemed by the state Civil Protection office to represent a health risk for residents of the area. It was ordered closed on Tuesday.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez generates an estimated 500 tonnes of trash every day, which is now beginning to accumulate on the streets.
Some residents have begun throwing lime on rotting organic garbage, whose composition is being hastened by warmer weather.
The conflict dates back to 2006 when the Proactiva contract was awarded, according to a report by NVI Noticias.