Rio de Janeiro, Jun 4 (IANS/EFE): Brazil's gigantic trash dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, considered Latin America's largest, has finally closed.
The last truck to bring a load of trash to the open air landfill left Gramacho Sunday shortly before an official ceremony marking the closure of the dump.
The dump will now begin undergoing a process of environmental recovery.
The site, which covers 1.3 million sq meters, remains inundated with some 60 million tonnes of trash that practically buried a neighbouring mangrove swamp and contaminated the waters of Guanabara Bay.
"We're putting an end to an environmental crime that for more than 30 years has polluted Rio de Janeiro," the mayor told EFE, symbolically placing a padlock on the dump's front gate.
"To replace it, we're building Latin America's most modern solid waste treatment center," he added, referring to the plant that had operated for several months at Seropedica, 75 km from the city.
A good part of the 8,400 tonnes of solid waste generated each day in Rio was brought to the site and dumped in the open air.
A part of it was consumed by scavenging birds and dug through by over 1,500 people who made their livings collecting recyclable materials from the trash.