WIT Press

Solid Waste Management In The Baja California Peninsula


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M Lagunas, H Romero-Schmidt & A Ortega-Rubio


In Baja California Sur, Mexico, there exists a precarious management of the solid waste produced by urban and rural human settlements. There is no selection and separation of materials during trash collection. There is no recycling. There is no care taken to select sites for the final disposition of the solid waste. Landfills are usually placed in the middle of watershed channels, in mangroves, close to the sea, or near a town’s entrance. Final disposition of the solid waste also is not properly done. There is no composting, and there is periodic burning. During the first half of 2001 we studied the solid waste management problem in three kinds of settlements: a) Rural; b) Fishing and c) Urban-tourist. Analyzing the production and composition of solid waste, we found that rural communities produce the least quantity (747 g/person/day), followed by the urban-tourist communities (963 g/person/day), and by the fishing communities (2,500 g/person/day). The rural and fishing communities produce significantly less organic materials, compared with the urban-tourist. This is a result of the use of organic residuals, such as animal nourishment or fertilizer. We offer specific recommendations for each kind of community to resolve the worst solid waste management problems detected by our study. This is the first study in the state of Baja California Sur to compare the solid waste management practices in several kinds of settlements. Introduction The most common practice of waste disposal in Baja California Sur, Mexico, is the open landfill, where waste is accumulated without any treatment [l, 2, 3, 4]. Baja California Sur (BCS) is the most arid and isolated state of Mexico, and one