- Last week, a large slope of garbage collapsed at a dump in Guatemala City, killing at least four people. 24 people who were sifting through trash at the dump are still missing, including seven recycling workers, according to Reuters.
- About 1,200 registered garbage pickers work at the dump, according to Fox News, however many people had entered the dump illegally.
- The New York Times reported that 3,000 tons of garbage from city's surrounding areas are brought to the dump daily. It is believed that rainy weather contributed to the accident.
This tragic accident in Guatemala is a grave reminder of the importance of proper waste management globally. In many areas of the world, thousands of tons of trash are tossed onto hills, creating the risk of massive landslides. A similar situation was recently experienced in Shenzen, China, leaving dozens of people missing under tons of trash. While rain was also blamed for this incident, it could have been prevented had the trash been thrown into a proper landfill.
Luckily, some countries that have lacked efficient waste management programs are making improvements through countrywide efforts. India, for example, has rolled out a three-fold expansion of the country's solid waste management program, marking the first time in 16 years that the country has reevaluated such initiatives. That expansion prohibits dumping on slopes and hills—a step in the right direction for the country that produces 62 million metric tons of waste each year.