Bogotá turns into a landfill!

The result of a 1-week halt of the rubbish collection service

What you see here is the result of the Bogotá mayor’s decision to ditch private companies (which used to be the status quo), and switch to using the Water Service Department instead for waste collection. It was all because of his leftist vision (rightly or wrongly), his plan to return power to the public sector. It was crazy. The ex-terrorist (he was part of a guerrilla group) showcased his inapt ability in managing the city.

His original plan was to hijack rubbish collection trucks from the companies that had previously been responsible for the job. (But how on earth did he think that he could simply take over the private property of these companies!?) His plan wasdenounced by the court (of course). His brilliant backup plan was to use the 470 dumper trucks that are owned by the Water Service Department. Then he was caught breaking the law because the city forbids the use of any vehicle other than the specialised ones rubbish collection in areas of more than 8,000 inhabitants. (Well, how was it possible that no one had ever advised him against this backup plan that is obviously illegal?) So, plan C! Plan C was to import 150 trucks from Miami. But he was trapped again – the law forbids the import of any used vehicles. Then finally, his last resort – renting 160 used trucks from New York to do 48% of rubbish collection in the city, and going back to using private companies for the other 52%.

However, with such little time to react, the trucks from America can’t be delivered in time. So far, only 23 of the 160 trucks have been delivered to Cartagena, a seaside town that is about 1,000km from Bogotá. These vehicles have been identified to be ‘unfit for purpose’, because they have actually been bought from the dumping ground in American! So the scandal that has resulted from the mayor’s new plan has turned into a double scandal, because the city paid a company with a $66,000M (roughly US$37M) tender to buy the rubbish vehicles that came with more rubbish (these vehicles came rusty, full of mud, rubbish and grass!)!!! It is very likely that these vehicles were chosen so that the contractor can make some money through the transaction under the table. But, hang on, why did the government had to use another contractor to buy these vehicles at the first place if the plan was to make the collection service ‘public’?

Waste Trucks; truck wastes, whatever.. But definitely NOT waste collection trucks!

You may notice that the maths doesn’t add up. Since the city has only got 23 vehicles now (and these are not even in use, but being quarantined at the moment), so the speculation is that the 52% of rubbish cleaning is done by the Water Service’s dumper trucks (which is illegal), or perhaps 90% of the service is carried out by the private companies! So after all the havocs and the city’s 1-week suffering from awful smell, sights, and hygiene, we’re back to square one..

Can you imagine that they are buying unfit equipment for the city’s waste collection service? Can you imagine that the mayor and all his advisors are letting this happen (and the mayor is on holiday at the moment by the way)? If this situation is going on in the capital of such a big country (supposedly one of the growth leaders in South America), can you imagine the kind of activities that are going on in other parts of this country?

The sequence of events shows that the mayor does not use his brain. It strikes me how Petro didn’t think through the change before he went on to execute the change. It strikes me that he didn’t talk to any relevant expert to understand all the potential consequences and his parameters before he approved the plan. It strikes me that he didn’t even seem to have gone through the basics.. He’s the mayor and the city seems to be too large for his plate. It strikes me that perhaps he doesn’t even have capable talent or expert around him! It strikes me that this person has been chosen Bogotánps to run the capital of Colombia. It strikes me how other Latin American countries like Argentina or Venezuela may be having the same problem (if not worse) – that of having an inapt leader in power. I can’t help but wonder how he got his popularity among the people.. I can’t help but think why the Bogotános did not do themselves justice to vote for a NORMAL person who is of mayor quality. (or perhaps the situation is even more complicated if he had been the best option among the candidates!?) It strikes me how little hope for progress this country will ever have given the political talents and personas that are available..


  1. On the upside, with the lousy roads we have in this country, there is no chance these trucks will make it to Bogota… they will destroy themselves on the way from Cartagena… lol

  2. So true.. by then it'll be the demise of the city..

  3. […] Now it all makes sense why the router is on the bedside table – so that it can be nearest to the next door flat! The short term accommodation company is cheap enough to use  one router for two (or more perhaps?) flats! Only in Colombia! […]

  4. There is a problem of garbage, but not in Bogota is inside the head of whoever wrote this article, please inform yourself before you misinform someone else…

    1. Dear Andres,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I’d appreciate if you could point out as to which aspect of this article you believe has misinformed the public.

  5. […] of you may know from my previous post that the intelligent mayor of Bogotá came up with a great idea to terminate the contracts with the […]

  6. i hope the author of this article does not disappear quietly…so we keep enjoying reading…

    1. Sorry.. Been busy with work that pays $.. Need to work out a sustainable way to continue with this blog..
      Thanks for your support! I will try to come back!

  7. […] cannot stand more than 2 years of Colombian problems, a lot of which are featured here on this blog), the Colombian pride might have brushed off on me, and I may be biased. There’s definitely […]

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