“I’m Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens” / Anddy Sierra Alvarez
by Lumumba residents against the dumping of solid waste in the
neighborhood is all but lost. The garbage dump, established three years
ago, is bigger today and includes debris from roadwork done in the area.
According to residents, there were initially only twenty meters of
trash, but today it covers more than a hundred. Local residents point to
Comunales, the company in charge of collecting the solid waste, as the
main cause for what is happening.
“They blame us for creating this dump but it’s not our fault. In this
borough (Arroyo Naranjo) it’s Comunales; they are the ones responsible
for all the waste here,” said Amelia Corrales, a resident of Lumumba.
“The problem is that we are black and that makes us scapegoats,” notes
Yaima Lombillo, a resident of a neighborhood that is predominately
dark-skinned. We either have to put up with it or set the trash ablaze
to get the firemen to come, as happened three months ago.”
Enrique Peña, a worker at the local headquarters of the company, says
that every three months they pick up all the refuse. “We come with a
six-person brigade, two trucks and a bulldozer to collect the debris
left there by residents. It takes us three hours and in the end
everything is clean,” he said. Pity.
He continues, “We don’t throw our trash there but neither do we make
sure that some of our workers aren’t dumping garbage there instead of
going someplace further away.”
But the problem is that residents do see company workers dumping their
“I passed there three times yesterday and there was a worker throwing
garbage there instead of picking it up. When I returned, there was
another one doing the same thing. We will continue living in filth and
breeding more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes [carriers of dengue fever and the
zika virus],” said Miguel Borroto, an area resident.
Local authorities have not responded to the problem. Attempts were made
to speak to the local representative but he refused to discuss it. “I am
very busy and am not going to my waste time talking to you,” said
Alejandro, the area’s representative, when I asked him about the Lumumba
Residents will have to make due with Comunales’ three-month schedule for
cleaning an area which apparently its own employees are trashing. “I am
not expecting much,” says Yaima Lombillo, “so I am going to set fire to
it all and see what happens.”
Source: “I’m Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens” / Anddy
Sierra Alvarez – Translating Cuba –