Irregularities in municipal management that have been inherited among mayors have brought multiple environmental problems to the population of ‘Bum Bum’, ‘Antonio José de Sucre’ Municipality, Barinas State. Its inhabitants formalized the complaint before the Environment Commission of the National Assembly in order to make the case public and channel a solution to the water crisis they are going through and the mismanagement of the illegal landfill that brings with it the indiscriminate burning of garbage that reaches the town. ‘Bum Bum’ is just two miles away from the dump.
The inhabitants of this town pointed out that about 160 indigenous families live in the township’s water source, in this place there is an intake on the ‘Bum Bum’ river that supplies water to more than 10 thousand people and to the irrigation system of the region’s farmers and livestock raisers. The indigenous population comes from Apure, “they brought over by Mayor Belkis Pediachi and she settled 90 families there and gave them a fortnightly Clap bag. For more than five years we have not had water because they relieve themselves in the river, they even give birth there and the current mayor, Salvador Guerrero, evades his responsibilities,” said one of the complainants.
In the inspection by the Environment Commission, it was observed how the indigenous communities bathed and lived in the river right in the space where the water intake structures and processing plant is located, upon entering the place one can see a large sign from the municipality is that says “bathing is prohibited”, local workers stated that they are harassed by indigenous representatives and that it is impossible to work in the place.
These indigenous communities live from garbage collection that is dumped only three kilometers from the water intake, they move some of the recycled products that they wash in the place and then sell them. Many also look for scrap in the landfill because they claim that it is better paid. These communities were also observed at the garbage dump sorting solid waste.
The landfill is located on a farm that the municipality bought for agricultural use, it has been used as a garbage dump without the approval of the surrounding communal councils, which were consulted 12 years ago, when the virgin landfill pits were built. Upon inspection, it was found that the roads leading to the pits were blocked by the amount of trash that had been left in the area, the landfill pits were free of trash, and since the roads leading to these pits are blocked, the garbage is being placed at the entrance of the farm a few meters from the national highway that connects Barinas with Táchira State.
The inhabitants of Bum Bum reported that the landfill has been on fire for a week, at the time of the inspection parts of the landfill were still on fire and there was a lot of smoke both in the place and in the town. Those consulted from the community who accompanied the inspection denounced that many neighbors have respiratory conditions and that the smoke irritates not only lung but the eyes. The doctor who accompanied the tour was able to verify with some patients the presence of respiratory distress; gastrointestinal problems; and some skin lesions.
Under the garbage dump that extends along the farm are the aquifers that feed the irrigation and the milk collection plant, its inhabitants demand that the municipality respond for a better waste management due to the risk of contamination of its waters.
Both cases will be reviewed by the technicians of the commission and the deputies, as well as the testimonies, photos and evidence collected during the inspection. The parliamentary body will inform the complainants as soon as possible about the concerns raised to the commission and will forward the complaints to the competent entities.