From old shoes, plastics, toys that went out of style, to (sometimes) human corpses and fetuses are collected along the Salado estuary. An arm of the sea that,moreover, hosts aquatic animal and plant life.
According to estimations of Visolit, company in charge of cleaning the estuary, of the 30daily tons of garbage that are collected in this water body, only eight come from the northern zone of Guayaquil. The rest, which represents about 75% of the total waste thrown over the estuary, correspond to the south and southwestof the city.
Gustavo Rivadeneira, leader of the Salado neighborhood, located on the banks of this tributary, confirms that figure. “In fact, it has been found that garbage is carried by a stream from the south. This is due to the ignorance of the population and the lack of initiative of the sectional governments. Training is vital and it does not exist there, “he says.
Juan Falconí, head of operations of Visolit, has a list (made on the basis of daily garbage collection routes) of the areas of the sea arm where more waste is collected. It is so that the citadel La Chala appears as the most conflictive, followed by Puerto Lisa, the estuaries Las Ranas, Mogollón, Palanqueado; andthe bridge sector of A.
In these areas, César Rumbea, director of Visolit, explains that the waste collection works (in which 130 people participate, in 17 boats) are superficial, that is to say that the floating garbage is collected and the onethat remains stuck in the banks. However, it recognizes that the biggestproblem of contamination by waste in the estuary is not on the surface.
“There are discharges that have been rotting for many years, which have settled in the bottom and generate hydrogen sulfide gas, which produces bad odors. At thetime, that will have to be lifted. For the moment, what we do is a makeup ofthe estuary. That is to say, we collect the garbage produced the day before,”he explains.
Also, Rumbea says to have identified great advances in the reduction of waste from the Portete bridge to the bridge June 5, and from the latter to Central Urdesa,following the Kennedy North. “There has been achieved more awareness ofcitizenship.”
In other figures, Rumbea also explains that of the 30 tons that are collected in the estuary, 70% corresponds to household waste of which 70% is organic and 30%is inorganic; The latter highlights that sanitary napkins and diapers have agreater presence. The remaining 30% of the total, according to their estimates,corresponds to construction waste, sticks, dead animals, etc.
And while there is less waste in the north, there are more industrial waste than there is in the south. “Of course there is very little quantity, but there is more because the industry is concentrated there”, explains Falconí.
Xavier Salgado, expert in the environment; and Javier Zurita, coordinator of the Asisclo Garay committee, near the Estero, agree that there is a lack of education and awareness on the part of the citizens, something in which, they consider, the authorities also have responsibility. “People do what they do because nobody has taught them,” says Zurita.
According to Visolit, the smells that are perceived (especially in the north) are due to sedimentation from accumulated garbage of many years.
Among the waste, although to a small extent, fetuses and human corpses have been found in bags.
Plastic bottles are very rare, since they are collected by the chamberos (homeless) (I)