Buckets of Basura – Málaga’s Rubbish Problem

IMG_1391.JPGI live in Málaga in Andalucía, southern Spain, and this is the reality we’ve been facing in our streets.

Rubbish collectors went on strike on the 1st March in Málaga to protest wage cuts. Málaga’s public communal bins are normally emptied every night, so when the strike started, so the rubbish also started to pile up with extra bags and piles of waste in an city which is already loaded with rubbish at times despite daily collections. The strike and lack of attention by the authorities lead to foul smelling rotting rubbish piling up on the streets of Málaga. Even though the strike has been resolved, the clean up has yet to be completed.

Whilst strikes are sometimes necessary – in this case the strikes were due to wage cuts in an area of Spain which suffers from high unemployment and low wages (albeit a low cost of living) – one must ask: where is common sense? The authorities have created a public hazard.

They allowed the situation to get to an extreme for various days before apparently hiring a private rubbish disposal company. This didn’t make much difference as far as I was aware and witness as the rubbish situation had already got to such an extreme and started to smell – and was not later promptly removed.

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The region of Andalucía boats of being the home of the sunny coast: The “Costa del Sol” with towns and cities such as Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Rincón de la Victoria, Marbella and Málaga which is both an ever popular growing tourist destination and the administrative centre for the region as the provincial capital. How can any authorities let such things get so far? It’s a shame for the people living here. Pay your workers fairly and do your job as far as the local population is concerned. However, make no mistake – as more tourists come to Málaga as the weather picks up – the rubbish was both smack bang in the centre of the city as well as in the local areas. However, the clean up started in the centre.

As I went into the city centre last night, the rubbish had gone but as I sit here on Monday 14th March – the rubbish outside my door has not been collected. All but one of these photos on this blog post were taken YESTERDAY. The strike is over – but the rubbish remains. So it must be asked:

  • Where is public money going?
  • Where is the consideration for public sanitation and safety?
  • Where is the Junta de Andalucía (the regional government) and the local town hall authorities?

Spain loves bureaucracy and love its tourists – but what about everyone as a whole? What about the locals? What about the people that live and work here? Neither locals nor tourists should have to put up with such mess…It’s symptomatic of wider regional and national problems – disorganisation, apathy within the government, economic inequality, corruption, poverty and austerity…


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For more information on the strike, see here

Image copyright: Elizabeth Arif-Fear

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