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The Discarded: A Town Devastated by Trash.

September 4, 2016

“I dreamt that I was in Heaven.  I looked out into the infinite.  Green vegetation.  Which the wind flogged like waves on the ocean.  And a voice spoke to me.  ‘The green you see is that of your hope.'” -Hernandes José Da Silva 

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about Rio de Janeiro from the 2016 Summer Olympics.  The world focused on athletes, gold medals, and world records.  One thing that wasn’t focused on was an issue devastating surrounding areas

In 2010, tragedy struck at Bumba Hill in Niteroi, a municipality of the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Bumba Hill used to be a trash dump and houses were built on top of this old landfill.  It exploded from gas build up, destroying everything on the land.  Incidents such as this should make us ask “What happens to my trash?”  “Where does it go?”

As the Rio population grew, homes popped up unplanned and organized, known as favelas.  A third of the population lives in these.  With this population growth came immense amounts of trash and sewage.  Due to the randomness of the homes, there are no ways to collect trash and sewage, so it flows out to the rivers, and then to Guanabara Bay.  People remember it as something pristine, but now, its filled with garbage.

Ricardo “Bimba” Winicki, a Brazilian windsurfer olympian, remembers finding out that the 2016 Olympics would be in the bay.  He hoped it would bring change, but sadly there was nothing.

There is some hope, though, as Hernandes José Da Silva exemplifies, a local of Niteroi.  His wife passed away in 2009, and full of anguish, his relationship with trash began in 2010.  He created and founded Casa Verde, where he collects and transforms trash into treasure.  He recycles the waste and makes it something of his own.

“I saved the trash from deteriorating over time, but the trash saved me too.”

It is with this mentally we most move forward and protect that which gives so much to us.  We cannot let problems like Guanabara bay arise from lack of caring about where our waste goes.  Georgia River Network believes in protecting not only Georgia’s waterways but those all across the world, which starts with the question “What can I do?”

To learn more about the tragedies of Bumba Hill and Guanabara Bay,  click this link to watch a short documentary.  We highly recommend it!




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