Eight years on, residents of the colonial town of Malinalco in México state, declared a Pueblo Mágico seven years ago, continue to fight the allegedly illegal installation of a garbage dump.
Located at the entrance of town, the dump is an officially designated garbage transfer station, intended to temporarily store trash before it is transported to a landfill.
But in reality, critics say, the site has been accumulating the trash from Malinalco and at least 10 neighboring municipalities for the better part of a decade, receiving an estimated 12 tonnes of garbage every day.
It is not, some local citizens say, a good advertisement for a Pueblo Mágico, or magical town.
The open-air dump site is close to a market, residential areas, businesses, a school and a nursing home for the terminally ill.
“Trash is deposited in the open, representing not only a great environmental risk but a risk to the health of those that live in the area,” said one resident.
A Mexico News Daily reader said that as a result of operating conditions of the garbage dump “it emits horrible odors and toxic gases, and it has created an enormous problem of cockroaches, rats, mosquitoes, and flies.”
Residents have mounted protests, filed complaints and requested the intervention of the state’s environmental protection agency in response to the “outrageous” contamination taking place.
Another resident told the newspaper El Sol de Toluca that after a formal complaint was received by the environmental agency, the closure of the transfer station is pending. All that is needed to make the closure official is the signature of the head of the agency.
Residents also say that authorities have not wished to act because the land on which the transfer station is located is owned by a former mayor. The municipality reportedly pays 60,000 pesos (about US $3,150) per month in rent.
There are also claims that the municipal government does not have permission to operate a transfer facility, much less a dump, and that it is in violation of environmental regulations.
Source: El Sol de Toluca (sp)