VIDEO: Irregular waste disposal is a common problem and remains unsolved – General

Photo: Pedro Piegas (Diary)
Garbage accumulation at the Jockey Club, Juscelino Kubitschek neighborhood

The stench is a warning, but it doesn’t take much effort to locate the problem with your eyes. Garbage outbreaks, fruits of irregular disposal, are common in several points of the city, as verified by the Diário in a survey in almost 50 streets of Santa Maria. The problem, which is not only environmental but also public health, lacks a solution. Inspection is difficult, the flagrant are few and there is a lack of collective awareness of people who insist on not giving the waste itself a proper destination. The lack of knowledge and information is also a factor, which became even more evident with the failure of selective collection initiatives, such as Recicle no Laranja, from the city hall.

Avenida Dom Ivo Lorscheiter, in the Passo D’Areia District, which follows the course of a stretch of the Cadena Stream, is one of the places that suffers most from the problem. The domestic servant Maria dos Santos, 62, has lived in the area for more than 25 years and says:

– People come by car to drop trash. The people who live nearby also throw things. Some neighbors and I cleaned it up, and when it dawns, it was full of garbage again. Tired!


In February, during one of the trips to the place, the report saw a garbage collection truck, which ended up taking some of the dirt.

– It is not a collection point, but the inspector asked us to stop by because there was a lot of garbage – explains the street sweeper Almir Rogério Soares, 21 years old.

Of 43 streets visited by the report, 23 had garbage sent in the wrong way. Residents report that no matter how much garbage is collected, in a few days the problem returns. There are consolidated points as an irregular destination.

Photo: Pedro Piegas (Diary)
Mountain of garbage on the edge of Arroio Cadena, next to Avenida Dom Ivo Lorscheiter, in the Passo D’Areia neighborhood

Historical sites also suffer from the problem. The Jockey Club, in the Juscelino Kubitschek District, resembles, in some points, an open-air warehouse. Near the access gate, it is possible to see piles of garbage, with pieces of wood, sofas, wardrobes, tree branches and remains of construction work.


The fine for those caught for irregular disposal starts at R $ 5,000 and can reach R $ 50 million, based on federal laws. According to the Deputy Secretary of Environment, Gerson Peixoto, each one is responsible for the garbage that it produces until the correct destination:

– If the person pays someone to clean the patio or take a piece of furniture away, and the charterer is caught leaving in an inappropriate place, both the charterer and the person, who hired the service, will be held responsible.

Camera catches refrigerator discarded in Praça Saldanha Marinho

The problem is that it is not simple to catch the act of disposal. According to the city hall, in 2021, there were only five striking with the help of the cameras of the Integrated Center for Public Security (Ciosp). There were two on February 13, on Venâncio Aires Street and no Santa Maria Industrial and Technological Park. The other occurred on January 31, on Avenida Medianeira, right in front of Ciosp. There are still two other cases under investigation. In 2020, there were nine assessments for irregular disposal. The fines, added up, reached R $ 40,887.52. The city did not inform the number of assessments in 2021.

According to the Secretary of Environment, Guilherme Rocha, Santa Maria has three environmental inspectors – one of them is from Covid-19’s risk group. He admits that the number is less than ideal:

– Santa Maria is a very big city and we have several points to be dealt with. It has a lot of occupation in the area of ​​permanent preservation, it has several problems of waste disposal. I believe that by increasing the number of inspectors by four or five, we could increase the number of incidents within environmental issues.

Cameras flagram new irregular waste disposal

For UFSM professor Marta Tocchetto, PhD in materials engineering at the Federal University of Rio Grando do Sul (UFRGS), the problem is serious and is not restricted to Santa Maria.

She says other cities across the country face similar situations. One of the reasons, according to Marta, is the lack of compliance with the National Solid Waste Policy (PNRS), approved in 2010. In summary, the objectives of the PNRS are the reduction of waste production, the end of open dumps, the encouraging practices such as selective collection, recycling and health education, in addition to reverse logistics, which makes companies and manufacturers responsible for discarded products.

– We have a structure that does not favor proper disposal and there is no inspection to punish those who break the law. This is also due to the disarticulation and dismantling of environmental sectors – points out the expert.

She understands that the environmental issue must be considered a priority in the city and says that there is what she calls the “chain of irresponsibility”, which is when the government does not perform the function efficiently, and the citizen uses the excuse to justify his own wrong act.

Photo: Pedro Piegas (Diary)
Garbage accumulated on the banks of Arroio Cadena poses a risk of contamination

– The price is paid in diseases, with the development of vectors such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats, which have these irregular deposits in their homes. In addition, there is chemical contamination. Plastics, chlorine, fluorine, toxic substances found in discarded materials. The price that society pays for the environmental degradation caused by itself has no dimension – explains Marta.

Freighter is caught by Ciosp cameras discarding furniture on public roads


Garbage collection in Santa Maria has bottlenecks that can help explain the problem of irregular disposal. According to the city hall, throughout 2020, approximately 74 thousand tons of solid urban waste were collected. Of this total, 5,300 were collected in outbreaks of waste, 162 tons of useless goods discarded irregularly and 32 tons of electronics, metals and glass through the Legal Disposal campaign. In 2021, counting only the months of January and February, Santa Maria generated 11,833.8 tons of waste. All of this collection generates a cost to the municipality.

– Today we work with what the National Policy determines. She says that the generator is responsible for disposing of its waste. Within some situations, the municipality is responsible for working with this collection, as long as it charges for this service. The municipality cannot simply bear the cost, without it being returned to the public coffers. Our annual expenditure is about R $ 21 million in waste collection. The annual collection, with the garbage tax in the property tax, is R $ 8 million – explains Rocha.

Photo: Pedro Piegas (Diary)
Smelly and insects are common in areas of irregular disposal

In Santa Maria, there are two types of collection. Conventional household collection is one in which the truck passes in front of homes. For this service, there is a contract with the company Sustentare Saneamento S / A. The other front occurs next to the containers installed in points, mainly, in the central area of ​​the city, under the responsibility of the company Conesul Soluções Ambientais. This waste is taken to the Sanitary Landfill, located on Estrada Geral da Caturrita (Boca do Monte district). Currently, the city does not collect the so-called unserviceable goods. There are points published by the government where it is possible to dispose of them (see the list below), but the costs of transport are borne by the citizen.

– It’s our biggest bottleneck. Furniture, beds, mattresses … it’s quite a problem. We have a nucleus formed with several municipal departments that will work on the new collection notices. We intend to solve this problem – projects the secretary.

Even so, actions that seek to reverse the situation are not well received by Santa Marienses. According to the city, the Legal Disposal, an action that collects unserviceable goods in neighborhoods in the municipality, had low adherence in the last two editions. Therefore, the government is reviewing the approach to the neighborhoods and there is no timetable for resuming collection.


What happens in Santa Maria is a reflection of the national situation. In the last decade, the amount of solid urban waste disposed of inappropriately in Brazil has grown 16%. The data is part of the Panorama of Solid Waste in Brazil 2020, produced by the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning and Special Waste Companies (Abrelpe). At the same time, waste production grew 19% in the country. From 67 million tons in 2010 to 79 million in 2019. This represents an average per capita of annual waste production of 379 kilograms.

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Of all the waste produced in Brazil, 40.5% has an improper destination. According to Abrelpe, waste discarded in open dumps and controlled landfills is included in this statistic. The problem directly harms health and generates an environmental and health care cost of about $ 1 billion a year.


In November 2019, the Recicle no Laranja campaign was launched. Fifty orange containers were scattered in central areas of the city, in an effort to carry out selective collection in Santa Maria. However, the initiative failed. The containers go through the city, but the waste deposited there is sent to a sanitary landfill, as well as the garbage placed in the common containers. The contract with the Association of Recyclable Material Selectors (Asmar), which would receive the materials, was terminated. According to the city, not everyone correctly separates garbage, which makes reuse impossible. However, according to the Executive, the waste deposited in the orange containers is generally collected by street scavengers. By e-mail, the city also informed that “the processes related to this service are currently undergoing a reformulation. A working group was set up in 2020 to think about all aspects of waste collection.


List of Voluntary Delivery Points (PEVs) licensed by the Environment Secretariat:

Eco Santa Integrated Waste Management

  • BR-158, 440, Bairro Pinheiro Machado
  • Phone: (55) 3222-9999
  • Collects construction waste (masonry, masonry with residues, common plaster, plasterboard, construction wood), white goods such as freezers, refrigerators, stoves, Styrofoam, plastics, cardboard, plaster, expansive foam and furniture

Fluorescent lamps

  • According to Municipal Law No. 5,539 / 2011, commercial establishments that resell light bulbs are obliged to receive them, after their energy depletion or useful life, users must deliver them to these locations (hypermarkets, supermarkets, neighborhood grocery stores, stores that commercialize building materials, electrical material stores, distributors, wholesalers and commerce in general authorized to commercialize this type of product)

Maringa Metals

  • Rua Miguel de Carvalho Macedo, 250, Bairro Uglione
  • Phone: (55) 3213-2074
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Collects electronic components, glass (all types), monitor with tube, stabilizer / UPS, motherboards, cell phones, printers, memories, hard drives, connectors, coolers, power supplies, power cables and wires, ceramic processor, acrylic processor, drives and diskettes, cd-rom, keyboards, media (CDs or DVDs), mice, white goods, washing machines, refrigerators, dryers, dishwashers, freezers

Ecotires Environmental Solutions

  • Contact: (55) 3263-2393 and (55) 98454-3198
  • Site:
  • Collects tires from over 200 tire repair shops

Association of Recyclable Material Selectors (Asmar)

  • Street: Dos Branquilhos, 79, Bairro Nova Santa Marta, Vila Pôr do Sol
  • Phone: (55) 98111-0146
  • Collects aluminum, plastic, cardboard and white paper

For other waste, we have the DestineMe website

  • DestineMe is a search platform for waste destinations. Through the tool, anyone can find suitable disposal sites. Just type and select the type of waste you want to dispose of. Then, the companies or entities able to receive the materials, as well as their contacts, appear.
  • The platform also allows users to collaborate, informing other waste destinations. The destination of these materials is the responsibility of each company informed on the website

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