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Santiago garbage collectors on strike following Santa Marta fire

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 05, 2016
Santiago garbage collectors on strike following Santa Marta fire

Solid waste collectors serving Chilean capital Santiago have gone on strike in a protest against the temporary closure of the Santa Marta landfill, where a fire burned for nearly a week in mid-January.

Services are set to cease in 19 districts of the Santiago Metropolitan region, while the strike could extend to other parts of Chile if the situation worsens, said Armando Soto, spokesman for sanitation workers' association Fenasinaj, as quoted by local newspaper El Mercurio.

As operations at Santa Marta have been halted since the fire, garbage collectors have had to reroute disposals to other area landfills, a change that has angered the collectors.

On Friday (February 5) an appeals court in the city of San Miguel (in Santiago's greater metropolitan area) ruled against resuming operations at Santa Marta.

The court first halted operations at Santa Marta on January 22, and Chile's environmental ministry SMA had also sought a court order to temporarily halt dumping to allow for studies to determine the safety of the site.

Authorities had initially expected that 60% of Santa Marta would resume operations on Monday (February 8).

The fire at Santa Marta, around 40km southwest of central Santiago, was attributed to intense sunrays.

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