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Military Personnel Go Out on Streets of Montevideo to Collect Garbage Piled Up Due to Strike

By Dialogo
December 14, 2010

Groups of military personnel went out on the streets of Montevideo to collect thousands of tons of garbage accumulated due to a strike by municipal employees, who agreed overnight to suspend the measure and return to work.

Wearing face masks and gloves, dozens of members of the armed forces used shovels and in some cases machinery to collect the trash that had spilled out of containers in several city neighborhoods, watched over by the police at the express request of military commanders.

Members of the three branches of the armed forces – the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force – participated in the operation, within the framework of a contingency plan aimed at preventing a possible health emergency in the city due to the accumulation of garbage, Defense Minister Luis Rosadilla explained.

“This contribution has as its sole objective that of contributing to addressing the health emergency, should there be one.

The participation of the Defense Ministry is not intended as a way to replace the usual work” of the Montevideo municipal workers, the minister indicated.

The Uruguayan government issued a decree declaring sanitation an essential service, obliging the sanitation workers to return to work, in order to put an end to a succession of strikes that left more than seven thousand tons of garbage on the streets of the capital, where more than half of the country’s 3.4 million inhabitants live.

The accumulation of trash took place at a time of high temperatures, as the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere summer approaches, and in the face of a warning from health authorities about the risk it posed to health.