Garbage collectors have removed a huge quantity of trash from Mexico City dams, drains and streets over the past four months as authorities aim to mitigate flooding during the rainy season.
Guillermo Ayala, an official with the Mexico City Risk Management and Civil Protection Ministry, said that almost 182,000 cubic meters of trash have been removed from 121 key locations.
The newspaper Reforma reported that the quantity is sufficient to completely fill Estadio Azteca, the huge soccer stadium on the capital’s south side.
Ayala said that the accumulation of trash – which frequently clogs drains – is “the main and only reason” for flooding in the capital. The problem is particularly bad in Mexico City’s most densely populated areas, he said, apparently referring to boroughs such as Iztapalapa and Gustavo A. Madero.
Littering – including the disposal of refuse by businesses, especially those with street stalls – is the main cause of the problem, which appears to be getting worse. The quantity of garbage collected between February and June was 57% higher than in the same period of last year.
Ayala said that the amount of trash has increased this year because there are more people on the street due to the decline of the pandemic. He also said that there were fewer workers to collect trash in 2020 and 2021 due to high levels of absenteeism associated with the pandemic.
One of the locations where massive quantities of rubbish accumulate is on Zaragoza Road near the Santa Martha Acatitla women’s prison in Iztapalapa.
Ayala said that 25 tonnes of trash were collected there in one 36-hour period. He blamed heavy foot traffic and the presence of a tianguis, or open-air market, for the large amount of litter.
Flooding is common in parts of Mexico City during the rainy season, which usually starts in late May or early June and concludes in October.
A massive drainage tunnel was built to reduce flooding, but inundations in the capital will likely remain an annual occurrence as long as people continue to litter.
With reports from Reforma