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La Chureca: Calling a Landfill Home

View an exclusive slideshow of Managua's La Chureca landfill and the families who live and work there.

La Chureca—located in Managua, Nicaragua—is Central America's largest landfill, where 16 tons of trash produced by over 2 million people is dropped off every day. The area, once 4.5 square miles of farmland on Lake Managua, is now home to hundreds of families and wild animals.

View the slideshow of La Chureca below.

All photos courtesy of Timothy Bouldry.

After an earthquake destroyed 80 percent of Managua in 1972, La Chureca became a dumping ground for rubble—and a home to the 1,800 people who now make their living sorting trash. In addition to working for years without basic health services, sanitation or formal employment, many of La Chureca’s residents still lack birth certificates.

Conditions at the landfill began to change in August 2007, when former Deputy Prime Minister of Spain María Teresa Fernández de la Vega provided a $39 million dollar grant through Agencia Española de Cooperacion International Para El Desarrolllo (The Spanish Agency for International Development Collaboration—AECID) to build a methane gas project and a recycling factory, completed in 2013, where 500 of La Chureca’s residents now work.

In 2013, AECID and the Alcaldía de Managua also built a housing development for residents of La Chureca, called Villa Virgen De Guadalupe, to provide better access to running water, electricity and food. The development includes a school, playgrounds and parks, and is patrolled by the police.

This slideshow is part of a larger collection of photos dating back to 2009, and follows La Chureca’s residents as they adapt to the recent changes in their community.

View an expanded version of the slideshow here.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Nicaragua, La Chureca landfill

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