According to a World Bank report, Mexico is the country that generates the most garbage in Latin America.
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In an analysis of the impact that waste will have on each region in the future, the agency warned that countries such as Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, whose waste will triple in a few years, will experience a serious ecological crisis if no provisional measures are taken.
On this side of the pond, the same will happen with Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, whose daily levels of waste are very high, and continue to climb.
Think of a common day: From toilet paper, through so many packs of food bags or boxes, the number of cigarette butts, chewing gum wrap, soda, kleenex, aluminum wrap, and many other etceteras, and now multiply it by the more than 127 million Mexicans. It is not difficult to imagine that Mexico is the country that generates the most garbage in Latin America.
According to the data provided by the World Bank, the amount of garbage generated per day in Mexico is 1.16 million kilos of garbage daily. Chile is not far behind with 1.14 million kilos of daily waste. They are followed by Argentina with 1.14, the Dominican Republic with 1.8 and Brazil with 1.4 million kilos of garbage daily.
The reason, according to the report “Waste 2.0: A global landscape of solid waste management up to 2050”, indicates that the socioeconomic level has a lot to do with the problem.
Throughout the world, high-income countries generate more than 34% of waste, despite the fact that only 16% of the world’s population lives in those countries. “Proper waste management makes economic sense,” said Silpa Kaza, a World Bank urban development specialist and lead author of the report.
In contrast, the countries of Latin America, which generate less waste, are headed by Guatemala with only 0.57 million kilograms of garbage per day, followed by Bolivia, Honduras, Cuba, and Peru, with barely 0.75 million kilograms of garbage per day.
The agency also emphasizes that solid waste management, although it is an essential element of sustainable, healthy and inclusive cities, is often overlooked, especially in low-income countries. While in high-income countries, more than one-third of waste is recovered through recycling and composting, only 4% of waste is recycled in low-income countries.
Although Mexico is the country that generates the most garbage in all of Latin America, it is also one of the countries that recycles the most. But speaking of the entire region, only 4.5% of the total waste generated is separated and recycled.
Latin America, is responsible for 13.5% of the total garbage generated worldwide and 52% of the total is food waste.
The World Bank warns that the polluting emission of 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide represents around 5% of global emissions. “Poor waste management is harming human health and local environments, while exacerbating the challenges posed by climate change,” said Laura Tuck, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank. But she also added that “Waste not collected and poorly disposed has a significant impact on public health. The cost of addressing this impact is much higher than that of developing and operating simple and appropriate waste management systems.”
The World Bank is considering providing financing to the neediest countries, especially those that are growing the fastest, to develop advanced waste management systems; as well as; support the main waste generating countries, in this case, Mexico, the country that generates more garbage from all Latin America, so that the consumption of plastics and marine debris can be reduced through comprehensive recycling and waste reduction programs.