Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dump Thoughts

I had to make a trip to the dump last week, since I smashed up 17 contractor bags' worth of plaster and lath.

Whew. That was dusty.

Anyway, I've been to the dump before, (actually we call it the South Transfer Station - doesn't that sound nice?) but this time I got to thinking about how organized and official it is, particularly when compared with some of its counterparts in Honduras.

(Here's my little pickup, loaded with HEAVY plaster and wood chunks.)

As you can see from the sign above, these dump people take security seriously. Not just any old chump can, er, dump. You must have photo ID with an address matching that which is indicated on your voucher!

Every vehicle must weigh in and weigh out. There are two scales: one for trucks and one for vehicles towing trailors. (Make sure you pay attention - go to the wrong scale and that blue-haired office-lady is gonna chew yer ass out in front of whoever is around.)

And here is the wood/construction waste pile.

(Just in case you can't read the sign.)

There is a separate pile for metal, which is not pictured here. Also not pictured is a pile for what I would refer to as "miscellaneous crap." That's inside the garage where they have the scales and the office. Misc. crap includes plastics, such as broken patio chairs, high chairs, kiddie pools with holes in them, and the like.

NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW...... that you have weighed out, signed your form, and retrieved your driver's license, (yes they hold them) let's take a gander at the Tegucigalpa dump:

What's the first difference you probably notice?


Yes, there are quite a few people who actually live IN the municipal dump in Tegucigalpa. They scavenge for useful items, including food.

Completely insanitary, dangerous, and heartbreaking.

...especially when you see all the kids there.

Now time for the plug:

There are people working to help the kids (and adults) who live off of the dump. Many of them are former street kids themselves, participating in the "Dump Ministry" through The Micah Project.

If these photos disturb you, I encourage you to check out the Micah project and consider a donation or maybe even a visit if you are ever in Tegucigalpa. In 2005, I met the founder of this organization, as well as a few of the young men who participate in the dump ministry. It is a worthy cause, and they are some truly amazing people.

The Tegus dump may never look as organized as its Minneapolis counterpart, but at least some things can be done to help the people who live in it.


At 8:18 PM, Blogger La Gringa said...

It's a sad story that has been getting a lot of media attention lately, both here in Honduras and internationally. Your photos show the story well.

When we lived in town in La Ceiba, we regularly had people going through our garbage looking for food. In fact, even now the garbage workers open every bag and look for ... I don't know, anything worthwhile.

All that is bad enough, especially considering how quickly food spoils in this climate, but thinking about people actually living in the dump is just incredible.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger thephoenixnyc said...

A good plug at this time of year. It is sp sad that so many places in the world the city dump is a place of sustinence for so many people.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Katrina said...

Before I looked at the website, I couldn't help but think, "wow, BFC took a trip to the dump!"

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Woah! I'm from down South, deep South. After the 2nd sign, I'd have just dumped my load and left. I have a hard time with more than 2-step instructions.

I bet if they drew pictures on their signs, it would help dumpers like me. Too bad the La Ceiba dumpster people don't feel like helping the townspeople out, too. (Sadly) ironic.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Flubberwinkle said...

Sadly, there are many families scavenging Athens' largest dump site for recyclables to be sold for food too. I wonder what these poor, hungry souls think of when they look at the mass of waste derived from consumer driven lifestyle.


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