by Kevin Howlett

Recycling in Bogota and Moscow: An Unrecognized Necessity

At my home we do not see recycling only as a necessity for our society, but also as an opportunity and a way to survive. A form of surviving that in countries like Colombia, is still precarious and little understood by a particular classist society like ours, where the primary link of the productive chain, the recycler or waste collector represents for many a symbol of poverty.

Story by Juan Manuel David Rodriguez
Colombia, South America
Published on February 23, 2020

Reading time: 3 minutes

This story is also available in de es tr



Here in this huge city, I have thought if Muscovites have ever asked themselves about the effects and impacts of their waste, what happens to their waste after being thrown into the garbage containers? Where are they taken? Are they treated in any way? Because these questions have always been in my head, probably because of my personal experience, which has been particularly linked to the treatment of these wastes, since my parents make a living with a small company in Bogotá that transforms the waste plastics to be used again as raw materials.

At my home we do not see recycling only as a necessity for our society, but also as an opportunity and a way to survive. A form of surviving that in countries like Colombia, is still precarious and little understood by a particular classist society like ours, where the primary link of the productive chain, the recycler or waste collector represents for many a symbol of poverty.

Now, recycling has also encountered problems in its implementation due to the lack of understanding of people who believe that their waste is rubbish, but in fact they are different and misunderstood concepts, where the ignorance of many for the actions of recycling and reusing is born. This thinking has been changing over time and been rethought by new generations, as it has been understood that recycling and reusing is a matter of individual and collective social responsibility, which limits environmental pollution, fights climate change and allows us to move towards a more sustainable and enduring society.

There is still a lack of environmental awareness in society in this area, and I say this from personal experience, since I have had the opportunity to live in two large metropolises, Bogotá and Moscow. As different from each other as you can imagine, but perhaps suffering from similar problems of overpopulation and poor management in the management of solid waste they generate. The figures are not encouraging either, for example in the case of Bogotá, a city of 7.2 million inhabitants (census, 2018), which generates an average of 6,500 tons of solid waste per day, only 15%[1] is recovered. And what to say about Moscow, a large source of consumption generating more than 12.5 million people (almost 20 million contemplated its metropolitan area), which generate 21,917 tons of waste per day, of which only 8%[2] is recovered.

I would like to invite everyone to make substantial changes in our daily habits and consumption, recycling is an individual action with a great global impact, when replicated. Never question why it is me who has to recycle, if my neighbour, friend or another person does not do it, rather on the contrary. More than ever you should propose to recycle to show those who do not, how valuable and hopeful the action of recycling is.


 Footnotes

[1] RCN, «https://www.rcnradio.com/,» [Online]. Available: https://www.rcnradio.com/bogota/bogota-solo-recicla-diariamente-el-15-de-las-basuras. [Accessed: December 2019].

[2] E. Mereminskaya, «vedomosti.ru,» [Online]. Available: https://www.vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2019/07/30/807668-moskva-razdelyat. [Accessed: December 2019].

[3] I. Golunov, «takiedela.ru,» 16 Junio 2019. [Online]. Available: https://takiedela.ru/2019/06/shest-millionov-tonn-musora/. [Accessed: December 2019].


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Juan Manuel David Rodriguez

Juan Manuel David Rodriguez

Hi everyone! My name is Juan Manuel David Rodríguez, I am 26 years old, I am Colombian, from a municipality near the great city of Bogotá, where I lived, studied and formed, I am currently studying in Moscow, Russia, a European mega-polis that seems to have no end.

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