Colombia: Bogota Bin Strike Continues

The bin strike in Bogota continues as the garbage keeps piling up in many parts of the city. Mayor Enrique Peñalosa has said that more than 3,700 tons of garbage sitting in the city will be removed soon.

Residents are not happy about the situation, which has gotten worse in the last few days. Last Thursday, bin collectors started a strike and garbage began piling up shortly after. In some parts of the city, residents have started wearing masks to avoid the smell of the garbage as they walk through the streets.

Residents say the situation has gotten very bad in some neighborhoods. The strike, which began a week ago, left the city without half of its bin collectors. The mayor has told residents that the problem will be solved within 72 hours.

The bin collectors for the public company behind the cleaning operations in half of the city began the strike last week to protest against the way contracts are given out. They believe the contract situation will leave many of them without a job in the next few days.

Mayor Enrique Peñalosa blames former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro for what’s happening with the bin collection. In December 2013, Mr. Petro was removed from office for alleged mismanagement of the waste collection system. He was reinstated months later and finished the length of his term.

In recent days, private companies have picked up some of the garbage in the city but it continues to pile up. The private companies have reportedly picked up more than 6,000 tons of garbage but the situation has gotten so bad in some areas that residents have taken the streets to protest.

Two days ago, residents of the neighborhood of Engativa protested. According to recent reports, there are over 3,766 tons of garbage left to pick up in the city. Residents complain that there are streets where garbage trucks have not picked up any garbage in a week. Residents fear that the garbage that’s piling up will bring rats and insects.

Engativa is one of the most affected areas, according to Colombian newspaper El Espectador. In their report, business owners complain that the garbage is hurting their sales. Other news agencies report that residents in other areas have started burning the garbage. Bogota, a city with a population of over eight million people, declared itself in a sanitary emergency a few days ago but the problem continues as thousands of workers fear they will lose their jobs.