International News Round-Up: Opening For Metallica…

Orchestra of Recycled Instruments Opens for Metallica

24-03-13-recycled-instrumentThe Catuera Orchestra of Recycled Instruments made headlines last week when it opened for U.S. heavy metal band Metallica in a concert in Ecuador. The orchestra consists of teenagers from Cateura, a shantytown located on a major landfill in Paraguay. The orchestra gained international attention after a trailer for Landfill Harmonic, a documentary about it, went viral in 2012.

Favio Chávez, an environmental engineer at the landfill, started the orchestra in 2006 to keep children from playing in the dump. The program grew in popularity to a point where there were not enough instruments for the students. So, Chávez and local waste collector Nicolás Gómez started making the children instruments using scraps from the local dump. Paint cans, aluminum trays, and forks, for instance, were used to help create violins, cellos and saxophones.

Learn more about the film Landfill Harmonic, and watch a trailer for the movie here.


UNEP Uses Japanese Waste Management Evolution to Guide Developing Nations

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently released a report examining Japan’s experiences in confronting waste management challenges during industrialization and highlighting learning opportunities for present-day rapidly industrializing countries.

The report details the transformation of Japan’s mismanaged industrial and hazardous waste systems from the 1960s to the country’s internationally recognized sustainable waste management systems today.

The report describes environmental and public health issues as driving forces for Japan’s shift to a 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) approach for managing industrial waste. The approach involved using regulatory, voluntary, economic and information-based policy instruments to change the country’s waste practices.

The report states: “By applying a preventive and integrated approach to industrial waste management, rapidly industrializing countries can avoid the negative impacts associated with industrial waste… which will enable them to decouple economic growth from environmental damage and improve their businesses’ longer term competitiveness.”

Read the Report here


Major Dumpster Fire Raises Public Health Concerns in Riverton, Jamaica

24-03-14-jamaicaThe Jamaica Fire Brigade announced that the week-long Riverton City landfill fire was under control, although parts of the site continued to smoulder. The fire began early last Sunday in a used tire section of the landfill.

The non-profit NGO, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), expressed concern in a statement over the fire’s impact on air quality and public health in Riverton City and the surrounding communities. JET insisted the National Environment and Planning Agency give updates on air quality monitoring “until the fire is completely extinguished”.

According to local press, dump fires are common for this site. However, the severity of this fire has brought numerous problems with the dumpsite to public attention. Issues include the fact that the landfill was operating without certain environmental permits and without an independent water supply. Jamaica’s National Solid Waste Management Authority is responsible for managing the site.


Homeless Couple Dumped Into Garbage Truck

A homeless couple in the U.S. city of Spokane, Washington, were sleeping in a dumpster with their dog last week when they when they were inadvertently dumped into the back of a garbage truck. When the driver heard strange noises and saw a box hurled from the back of the truck, he pulled over and discovered the man, woman and dog trapped inside. They had managed to avoid the truck’s compactor, which the driver had operated after dumping them into the truck. The driver immediately called emergency services, and firefighters were able to remove them from the truck. The couple were then taken to a hospital but had only minor injuries.

The City of Spokane has over 1,200 homeless individuals, according to the Spokane Homeless Coalition. Shelters are often inundated, and hundreds of people are turned away every year, leaving many to find makeshift shelters for themselves.

Stories courtesy of Sunanda Katragadda. Email Sunanda here


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