A tale of two cities: How Nicaraguans live off landfills

This multimedia piece shares the story of the people of two communities in Nicaragua whose livelihoods revolve around garbage but in drastically different ways.

The people of Ciudad Sandino survive by collecting recyclable material in the Nueva Vida landfill, where they spend hours searching through trash for plastic bottles and glass under the unforgiving sun. This landfill is open air, so children and adults alike are exposed to the elements every day. Children even miss school to provide for their families.

Yet the people earn less than $2 a day.

The second community is a neighborhood called Villa Guadalupe, the former location of Central America’s largest landfill, La Chureca. The landfill was closed eight years ago and replaced with a recycling plant and new homes by a foreign government. The plant has provided 200 people with a roof over their heads and a job in a safer environment.

Replacing landfills with recycling plants is a growing trend that offers a workable solution to a serious problem.

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