A strike by some 3200 garbage collectors employed by Aguas de Bogotá - a public services company specializing in the provision of sanitation services - continues in Bogotá as of Thursday, February 8. Some 3750 metro tons of garbage is said to have piled up on the streets of the city, leading to mounting health concerns. The worst-affected neighborhoods include Chapinero, Teusaquillo, Barrios Unidos, Martires, Fontibon, Santa Fe, Antonio Nariño, San Cristobal, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Usme, La Candelaria, and Kennedy. Anecdotal reports of rats - carriers of various diseases - being attracted to the garbage piles and vulnerable individuals (e.g. children and the elderly) falling ill have surfaced and residents have begun burning the trash. The dispute has also led to violent protests by Aguas de Bogotá workers and further such incidents are possible, along with protests by angry residents.
The city’s mayor promised on February 7 to bring an end to the strike but said that even once the strike ends it would take at least three days for the situation to normalize.
The Aguas de Bogotá workers are protesting the likely dismissal of some 3700 employees after the company failed to procure a public contract. Local authorities in Bogotá declared a public environmental and sanitation state of emergency on February 1, allowing the city to employ private sanitation workers to assist in garbage collection. However, this has proven insufficient.
Individuals in Bogotá are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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