In Mayotte, garbage piles up, causing ecological and health risks

Trash hills in a busy street, embers munching garbage burned by people on the down side: in this area of ​​northern Mayotte, like everywhere on the island, the collection of waste is disrupted by the social conflict that has lasted for more than six weeks. " Initially, I stored at home for two to three weeks and then, as I could not breathe, I did like everyone else says Salim Soilihi, resident of the commercial district of Majicavo Dubai. Here, one smells the smell throughout the district ".

It has been several weeks since the collection of garbage is disturbed in the whole of the municipalities of Mayotte because in particular dams erected in the North, Central and South of the island since 1 March 2018, as part of the movement of popular protest against insecurity led by an inter-union. Strongly disrupted in most villages, this pickup is not even assured at all in southern communes since the beginning of the movement, says Madi Said AFP, vice president in charge of the collection of the Union of elimination and recovery of waste from Mayotte (Sidevam 976). The barricades prevent, among other things, the passage of dump trucks and the free movement of employees of the intercommunal syndicate, who can not go to work.

In this context, on March 19, 2018, the organization in charge of garbage collection housewives of all the municipalities of the island (outside the capital Mamoudzou) decided to totally suspend the collection and to close all the dedicated sites, including the landfill and transfer docks, completely saturated, the port of Longoni (north) being surrounded by barricades, the export of waste can no longer be done. " Our employees received threats (protesters, Ed), that they were going to barricade the sites, burn the trucks because they did not respect the strike ", testifies Madi Said

Thousands of tons

The Sidevam 976 estimates that between 2,000 and 4,000 tons of waste accumulate in the streets of Mayotte. According to Madi Saïd, with the means currently available, as soon as the barricades are raised, it will take four months to return to a normal situation. The period could be reduced to one month, but this would require " exceptional means " including the rental of specific equipment, which would force the union to commit " a colossal sum ", the amount of which has not yet been quantified.

Since mid-March, one of the two communes of Petite-Terre has been deploying" exceptional measures "for" to reabsorb the maximum household waste in this period of health crisis ", but it recognizes in a statement that" storage areas (…) are limited "and that the evacuation to the treatment center of Grande-Terre is complicated by dams

" Since people do not sort, we end up with very large volumes in the streets, whereas 20% to 30% of garbage currently not picked up could have been saved thanks to this citizen gesture ", noticed he is also the director of the Star Urahafu, the organization in charge of the collection in the capital Mamoudzou. It also alerts on the health and ecological risks of non-collection of infectious waste related to the practice of medicine, and hazardous waste such as waste oil or pharmaceutical and chemical products. " Without collection, where are they going? ", he wonders, fearing pollution s soil and lagoon.

" This accumulation waste can be at the origin of the proliferation of diseases carried by rats, mosquitoes or flies such as leptospirosis, dengue fever or gastroenteritis ", indicates for its part Virginie Donatti, head of the department Health Environment of the delegation of Mayotte of the Indian Ocean Regional Health Agency. " The decomposition of waste or their combustion also produces toxic gases that can cause respiratory diseases ," she warns.

In Mayotte, dump trucks no longer pass, garbage piles up

Trash hills in a busy street, embers munching garbage burned by people on the down side: in this area of ​​northern Mayotte, like everywhere on the island, the collection of waste is disrupted by the social conflict that has lasted for more than six weeks

"At first, I stored at home for two to three weeks and then, as I could not breathe, I did like everyone else" Salim Soilihi, a resident of Dubai's Majicavo shopping district, says neighbors are throwing trash bags over garbage heaps in the middle of the street. "Here, we smell all over the neighborhood," he complains.

Near the mosque, garbage bags are piling up and various garbage strewn on the ground.

It's been several weeks since the pick-up household garbage is disrupted in all municipalities of Mayotte because of roadblocks erected in the north, the center and the south of the island since March 1, as part of the popular protest movement against insecurity led by an inter-union

 Demonstration against insecurity and immigration in Mayotte, March 13, 2018 (AFP / Archives - Ornella LAMBERTI)

Demonstration against insecurity and immigration in Mayotte, March 13 2018 (AFP / Archives – Ornella LAMBERTI)

Strongly disturbed in most villages, this collection is not even assured at all in the southern communes since the beginning of the movement, says Madi Saïd AFP, vice -president in charge of collecting the Syndica t of elimination and recovery of waste from Mayotte (Sidevam 976).

The barricades prevent among other things the passage of dump trucks and the free movement of employees of the inter-communal syndicate, who can not get to work. [19659002] In this context, on March 19, the organization in charge of the garbage collection of all the municipalities of the island (outside the capital Mamoudzou) decided to totally suspend the collection and to close all the Dedicated sites, including the landfill and transfer docks, completely saturated: the port of Longoni (north) being surrounded by barricades, the export of waste can no longer be done.

"Our employees have received threats (protesters, Ed), that they were going to barricade the sites, burn the trucks because they did not respect the strike ", testifies Madi Said.

– Thousands of tons –

The Sidevam 976 estimates that these are now between 2,000 and 4,000 tons of waste accumulating in the streets of Mayotte.

 The streets of Koungou in Mayotte are full of rubbish bags and garbage piling up on March 24, 2018 due to the popular protest movement against insecurity ( AFP - Ornella LAMBERTI)

The streets of Koungou in Mayotte overflowing with garbage bags and garbage piling up on March 24, 2018 due to the popular protest movement against insecurity (AFP – Ornella LAMBERTI)

According to Madi Saïd, with the means currently available, as soon as the barricades are raised, it will take four months to return to a normal situation. The deadline could be reduced to "one month", but this would require "exceptional resources" including the rental of specific equipment, which would require the union to incur "a colossal amount", the amount has not yet

Since mid-March, one of the two communes of Petite-Terre has been deploying "exceptional measures" to "reduce the maximum amount of household waste during this period of health crisis", but it recognizes in a statement that "The storage areas (…) are limited" and the evacuation to the Grande-Terre treatment center is complicated by the dams.

"As people do not sort, we end up with very large volumes "in the streets, while 20% to 30% of garbage currently not picked up could have been saved thanks to this" citizen gesture ", also notes the director of the Star Urahafu, organization in charge of the collection in the chief town Mamoudzou. [19659002] It also warns about the health and ecological risks of non-collection of infectious waste related to the practice of medicine, and hazardous waste such as waste oil or pharmaceutical and chemical products. "Without collection, where are they going?", He wonders, fearing pollution of the soil and the lagoon.

"This accumulation of garbage can be at the origin of the proliferation of diseases" conveyed by rats, mosquitoes or flies such as leptospirosis, dengue fever or gastroenteritis, indicates Virginie Donatti, head of the Health and Environment Department of the Mayotte delegation of the Indian Ocean Regional Health Agency. Decomposing or burning waste also produces toxic gases that can cause respiratory illness, she warns.

A diver films an ocean of garbage in the waters of Bali

Millions of tourists flock every year to the sandy beaches of Bali's Indonesian island, but a video shot by a British diver highlights a worrying problem: clear waters stained with plastic waste. [19659002] This underwater video made this week by Rich Horner shows the diver swimming underwater amidst hundreds of plastic garbage and other debris at Manta Point, on the small island of Nusa Penida, southeast of Bali , where tourists come to observe the manta rays.

"The currents of the ocean brought us a beautiful gift with jellyfish, plankton, leaves, branches, palms, stems, etc … Oh, and plastic" , wrote the diver not ironically on his Facebook account.

All kinds of plastics – including bottles, goblets and straws – floated around him.

"Plastic bags, still plastic bags , plastic, pl astique, so much plastic! ", he added.

The mounds of garbage that accumulate on the beaches are damaging to Bali's reputation, presented as a dream island with turquoise waters, and highlight the rubbish problem in Indonesia

The fourth most populated country in the world with some 255 million inhabitants, this Southeast Asian archipelago is the world's second largest producer of marine litter after China, with 1.29 million tonnes per annum thrown at sea, causing immense damage to ecosystems and health.

For I Gede Hendrawa, researcher in oceanography at Udayana University in Bali, "the waste disturbs tourists by one point But the problem of plastic is much more serious than that: microplastics can contaminate fish that, if eaten by humans, can cause health problems such as cancer. "