Monday, April 22

Strike of garbage collection Salt: The residents of Salt, surrounded by garbage: “We are in the middle of the shit” | Catalonia

“The City Council has to punch the table and say ‘enough’! The people of Salt are in the middle of the shit, speaking clearly, “says Tina, a retiree from Barri Vell. Like her, think many other residents of this Girona municipality of 32,000 inhabitants who have suffered an indefinite strike for the last three weeks by thirty employees of the concessionary company of the garbage collection service —Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) Medio Ambiente— . To cope with the mountains of waste that accumulate in containers and sidewalks, a part of the population, including businesses, has been storing plastics, glass and cardboard in houses and patios. Other residents have taken advantage of their trips to work in other neighboring towns such as Girona or Vilablareix to load the remains in their vehicles and deposit them there. Despite the insistence of the strike committee, at the moment neither a new negotiation meeting nor an agreement is foreseen.

“It is the City Council that must do something, we cannot do anything, only complain. What we have already done has been to pay the bill, “says Joan, Tina’s husband, who regrets that” it seems that the Town Hall is taking it a bit lightly because all the streets are dirty, not just because of bags of Garbage, wherever you go is full of leaves, plastics, bottles ”. However, it qualifies what some of the neighborhood associations also point out: “Before this strike it was already dirty. It is not cleaned as it should. But the fault lies with the people, who are dirty ”, he assures. Other neighbors think the same: “There are people with very little education and very uncivil”. Mattresses, toilets, refrigerators, cabinets and other items thrown on the street are proof of this.

The workers and the company do not have an upcoming meeting scheduled

They distribute blame equally. “I suppose that, to save money, the staff is short, but if the company does not have it clean enough, the mayor should improve it,” insists Tina, who sees, in general, a certain “neglect”. “I do not understand how the neighbors are so appeased and we do not go out and do what we have to do at once, and not just because of the garbage. People no longer want to come to Salt, and if it is that disgusting, even less ”he complains.

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In Salt, one of the poorest cities in Catalonia, with a 39% immigrant population and an obvious underground economy, the neighborhoods are not affected equally. It depends on its population density. One of the worst is the Center, where more than 11,000 people live in just three streets, more than a third of the total census. In these streets the accumulation of waste and the pestilence are permanent.

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Garbage accumulation on a street in downtown Salt, this Thursday.
Garbage accumulation on a street in downtown Salt, this Thursday.© Toni Ferragut

There are many neighbors who, aware of the unhealthy situation, these weeks of strike have been keeping non-organic waste at home. Those who have not taken them to neighboring cities have taken the opportunity to dispose of their waste on the afternoons of this week, when operators with FCC trucks from other cities such as Badalona have gone to Salt to empty the container islands amid a large deployment of the Mossos and the local police.

Ling Long, from the El Corte Oriental bazaar, keeps industrial bags full of plastics in a small warehouse waiting to be disposed of, as he did with cardboard after fifteen days. They were also storing kilos of packing boxes in the Carrer Major bazaar. “We accumulated so much that we had to load it up and take it somewhere else. Get out of Salt, ”Zengxia explains. Some neighbors say that on Wednesday, when they saw two trucks passing through the containers in the afternoon, they went out to dump what they had at home. The same was done by the parish priest of Sant Jaume, Fèlix Mussoll.

“People no longer want to come to Salt, and if it is disgusting, less”

Albert, owner of the L’Antull Restaurant, acknowledges that he has been lucky because “being close to the Health Center they collect the containers every day”. However, since the wastebasket in front of his business is not emptied, he does. “The remains that fall get dirty and give a very bad image, that’s why I empty it every day,” he says. Some neighbors of the Barri Vell also go out with their brooms to collect the leaves that accumulate in front of their houses. Again they will remain stored for a few days in their patios.

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This Thursday afternoon a meeting of the five neighborhood associations was scheduled in the parish to analyze the decisions to be made. A person in charge advances: “We are not going to charge inks against anyone, but we want solutions.” Some of the associations have claimed for years that “the town is not clean.”

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