President's Blog

16 Feb 2017 09:36 Age: 3 yrs

Guest Blog: ISWA Vice President, Carlos Silva Filho

Category: CloseDumpsites, ISWA BLOG


This issue of the ISWA President's Blog has been penned by our partner in Brazil, Carlos Silva Filho. Carlos, based in the megacity of Sao Paulo, is ISWA's National Member Representative in Brazil and CEO of ABRELPE, and also sits on the ISWA Board as Vice President.


Enjoy reading his post!

It was with great pleasure that, together with President Antonis Mavropoulos, I participated in the inauguration ceremony of the Sanitary Landfill in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.


The Regional Government of the Brazil’s Federal District, with full support from ISWA, took the first concrete step towards closing the Estrutural Dumpsite, the largest open dump in Latin America and one of the 50 biggest in the world, as indicated in the "Roadmap for closing Waste Dumpsites – The World’s most Polluted Places". Important to note that the ISWA report has been instrumental in implementing the process to shutdown the dumpsite.


On the inauguration solemnity, the Governor of the Federal District, Mr. Rodrigo Rollemberg, recognized the importance of the moment, with the commitment of gradual deactivation of the Estrutural Dumpsite. Brazil's Environment Minister, Mr. Sarney Filho, also present at the ceremony, stressed that the inauguration of the Brasilia Sanitary Landfill is a step towards solving serious environmental problems throughout Brazil, and emphasized that the global climate disarray as we see nowadays is the sum of local issues. So, according to the Minister, the solution must begin with local initiatives to improve the conditions of the environment.


During his speech, Antonis mentioned that in September 2016, ISWA launched the global campaign to #closedumpsites, the world's 50 biggest dumpsites - among them that of Estrutural - and being able to witness the first concrete result achieved brings great joy. For him the moment deserves a celebration not only in Brasilia and Brazil, but for the whole world, which will no longer coexist with such source that daily contaminates soil, water, air and affects the health of millions of people.


In addition to the participation in the ceremony, on behalf of ISWA we signed a letter of commitment with the regional government and other entities to monitor the operation of the landfill; the closure of the Estrutural Dumpsite and recovery of the area; and last but not least, to ensure the social inclusion of waste pickers into activities of separate collection and sorting of recyclables.



The Brasilia Sanitary Landfill is designed to receive 8.13 million tons of rejects (non-recoverable waste) during its a life spam of approximately 13 years. Around 900 and 1,000 tons of materials will be disposed there every day, which is equivalent to about 40 trucks. Just to have an idea, in the first 15 days of operation, the Landfill received 14 thousand tons of waste (554 trips were made), and between the entrance and the exit, each truck spent, on average, 21 minutes.


The process to close the Estrututral Dumpsite involves several improvements to the existing site, such as fence installation around the whole perimeter and only two entrances for vehicles and one for pedestrians. Concrete tubes were installed to flare the gases and an electronic wheighting bridge to control the amount of waste is also in place. In addition, social assistance such as the recruitment of the more than 2,000 waste pickers who live from the dumpsite are carried out and the insertion of the children in social and educational programs from the government. At the same time, works are being planned to build and renovate seven sorting facilities, which will be ready by mid 2018 and will be operated by waste pickers cooperatives registered with the Government of the Federal District.


The ISWA Campaign for Closing Dumpsites is a cause of enormous proportions and very challenging, but surely will bring positive impacts to the great majority of developing countries and will lead to a better quality of life for all humanity. As we have said from the beginning: It's about people, not waste!


Carlos Silva Filho,



* Photos by Gabriel Jabur / Agência Brasília.