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Medical supplies, including used syringes, toxins emitted from discarded gas tanks, as well as other biohazardous materials contribute to the dangers of the landfill.
Human and animal corpses deteriorate amid the waste, exacerbating already poor sanitation conditions.
The inhabitants of these “shanty-towns” ―often internally displaced persons― do not have access to the education and training required in order to occupy such jobs, or obtain better ones.
The lack of a shared language between the residents of Guatemala City and the inhabitants of the squatting community further obstructs employment opportunities for the men and women currently working in the landfill.
For most of this period, the conflict was fought between the Guatemalan government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), a guerrilla group representing the interests of many native Mayans, who opposed the state’s repossession of land occupied by indigenous communities.
The conflict had devastating effects of approximately 200,000 casualties.
This landfill, one of the largest and most toxic in Central America, houses over a third of the country’s waste, including trash, recyclables, and discarded food items.
There are few, if any, health and safety restrictions limiting the items that can be disposed of in the dump.
The Guatemalan government has failed to return property formerly owned by refugees and to provide support for their resettlement following the signing of the Peace Accords.
The margins of the landfill are so heavily populated that they are considered a municipality of the city.
Reportedly, 30,000 squatters reside along the perimeter of the garbage dump.
Road Blocks to Education As agricultural jobs account for half of the labor force, those living in developed urban areas, such as Guatemala City, are disadvantaged in finding employment.
The employment opportunities in Guatemala City are primarily offered in the service and manufacturing sectors, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, rubber, paper, and textiles.