THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
One Man's Trash
Latin America's largest dump shut down on Jan. 20 in Brazil's capital, Brasília. But the move towards cleaner waste management threatens the livelihood of nearly 35,000 residents of Cidade Estrutural, a shantytown that sprouted around the dump during its almost 60 years of existence. Generations of scavengers know no better way to scrape a living than rummaging through tons of stinky waste looking for recyclables to sell for a tiny profit. Authorities have pledged to give them a job, but many fear being left behind. Unemployment is the looming threat, as Brazil struggles to overcome an epic recession.
We followed Sandra Montes and her husband Emerson Oliveira de Souza as they trawled through tons of waste just days before the site closed.
Editing: Jake Nicol
Text: Paulo Trevisani