Reuters

One of the world's largest open-air landfills will be shuttered. What does that mean for the 1,700 people who worked there?

It's been a seaside eyesore and a source of income for thousands. But after 34 years of service, one of the world's largest open-air landfills will be shuttered.

Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho will close in advance of the United Nations sustainable development summit in the city. Built in 1978, it has functioned for nearly 20 years with little oversight. The Associated Press calls the vast, malodorous dump a "symbol of ill-conceived urban planning and environmental negligence."

Environmentalists blamed Gramacho for high levels of pollution in Guanabara Bay. But 1,700 depended on the spot for their income, picking through the trash to find recyclables. Here's how one describes it to the AP:

"When you first get here, you're like, 'Ick, I don't know if I can do this,' but then you get used to it and you make friends and you find it's good work," said Lorival Francisco dos Santos, a 46-year-old from Brazil's impoverished northeast who spent 13 years at the landfill.

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Do Driverless Cars Need Their Own Roads Around Manhattan?

    A concept for AV expressways promises to reduce travel times, but falls into an old trap of car-centric planning.

  2. Equity

    Why Jimmy Carter Believes Housing Is a Basic Human Right

    Richard Florida talks to the former president about housing, Habitat for Humanity, and how government assistance enabled their current success.

  3. Design

    Where Edmonton Goes Next

    The city that hosted this year’s Habitat for Humanity build also wants to create a downtown that attracts people to stay around after the Alberta oil boom has faded.

  4. Transportation

    Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Has New Reason For Skepticism

    A lawsuit now alleges the president’s advisory council was convened illegally.

  5. Videos

    5 Ways to Seriously Battle Traffic

    So long as cars are among us, road pricing, ramp meters, and diamond-shaped intersections can mitigate horrendous commutes, a new video explains.