Uploaded on Sep 9, 2009
MaximsNewsNetwork: 09 September 2009 - MINUSTAH: Only seven percent of the garbage in Haiti's capital Port au Prince is collected by the public service. Small-time garbage collectors sift through the rest and eke out a living by delivering their finds to companies like Tropical Recycling, which sells plastic waste to the United States and China for recycling.
Many corners of Port au Prince are covered with mountains of garbage containing all kinds of waste. This image is part of Haitis capital.
And in some parts of Port-au-Prince such as Cite Soleil, the population is living in the garbage itself. Only seven percent of the garbage is collected by the public service called, Service Metropolitaine de Collecte des Residus Solide. A large majority stays in the streets.
According to the ministry of environment, Port au Prince produces 5,000 tons of solid waste each day. Sixty percent is coming from private households, fifteen percent of the urban markets and twenty-five percent from industrial and commercial productions.
At a company called Tropical Recycling, people can bring all kinds of plastic refuse; it is one of the two main companies that take garbage disposal in Haiti. Currently they pay one Gourd (U$ 0,025) per pound to their clients. These prices vary since they depend strongly on the petrol market.
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Christine Joseph, Garbage Collector:
There is this factory here to where we bring our garbage
Question: Do you have people who help you to collect the garbage?
I have friends and my children who help me to pick up the garbage.
The money Christine earns, around U$ 22 per month, she shares with people who help her in collecting garbage.
When the plastic arrives at Tropical Recycling, it gets washed, pressed and then put together so it can fit in containers. 250,000 pounds are exported each month from the port of Port-au-Prince and shipped abroad.
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Stephan R. Coles, Vice-President Tropical Recycling:
The volume of Haitian plastic does not justify the presence of a recycling factory. Thats why we started to tell to people they should sell plastic to us. And we realized this works well. The sale of waste is a mean for the poor who are facing misery to make some money. And they can live well with that. We bring it to us or we send them a truck to get the garbage to us. We wash them, put them together in containers and then we sell the plastic garbage to the United States or to China.
Close to the garbage dump of Truitier, a garbage collector does his daily work. Whatever he can sell, he takes out of the trash. It is a tough and unhealthy job, but it allows him to earn his living. On average he makes U$ 5 per day.
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Garbage Collector:
From all the garbage, I recover the pieces of iron which I will sell afterwards to the company GS industries. When the trucks arrive here to dump the waste, I take the iron pieces and put them in another vehicle that is driving me to the company GS to which I sell the metal garbage.
What does not bring any income, the garbage collector burns. For years he has been collecting rubbish at this place, however, his family does not know where the income comes from.
A few kilometers further a group of people is working together at another garbage hill. They live close to this garbage dump. When they come, they separate everything they can find - clothes, glass, plastic and carton - and pack it together so that they can sell it to the recycling company. But first they need to organize transport.
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Garbage collector
We live in the garbage and thanks to the collection of garbage, because we dont get any help from the Haitian government. It is thanks to the recovery of the waste that we manage to be able to eat. We are conscious that the garbage harms our health, but we are obliged to come to pick up the garbage, this is how we earn our daily bread.
G.S. Industries is the only company in Haiti that accepts all kinds of garbage besides copper.
On average 1000 people come each day to sell the garbage they collect. For car batteries, depending on the size, they get between U$ 6 and U$ 25.
One and a half years ago, the company got a franchise from the Haitian government which excludes them from paying taxes for three years.
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Gary Sajous, President G.S. Industries S.A.
Our real motivation is the business that enables us to make money. But at the same time we also would like to help the country. Indirectly through our business we are helping other people. So our biggest interest is to help the people, the society and the country in general.
Each month 400 25-ton containers are exported, mainly to Asia, Brazil and Mexico.
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