Waste Pickers in Bogota Lend Support to Mayor Gustavo Petro

Waste Picker working at a recycling center in Bogota, Colombia

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The Inspector-General of Colombia has ruled that the democratically-elected Mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro, should be removed from his position based on actions taken during the implementation of Bogota’s Zero Waste programme, a programme that includes thousands of waste pickers. Alejandro Ordóñez made the ruling on December 9, 2013.

The Zero Waste programme was implemented by the Petro administration in response to a 2011 Constitutional Court ruling, which said waste pickers must be included in the city’s solid waste management system. Waste picker representatives have stated that while the current system does require adjustments, it has been a significant advance as it officially includes waste pickers and compensates them for their work.

With the ruling by Inspector-General Ordóñez to remove Petro, Bogota’s current Zero Waste programme and the livelihoods of thousands of waste pickers are at risk. In response, the Bogota Association of Recyclers (ARB), along with the Colombia Association of Recyclers, has produced a petition in support of Mayor Petro.

The waste pickers have also actively supported Mayor Petro in pro-Petro rallies in Bogota’s Plaza de Bolívar.

WIEGO has worked closely with the ARB in their struggle for the inclusion in Bogota’s solid waste management system, including undertaking research and providing technical support when required. Find out more about WIEGO’s work with ARB.

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