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Permanent assembly for the closure of the Doña Juana landfill

After the environmental tragedy of September 27, 1997, the communities of southern Bogotá, organized in the social process Asamblea Sur, have presented various formulas to advance the definitive closure of the Doña Juana landfill. Especially in the 2005 mobilizations, they presented to the national and local administration, territorial and technological formulas for abandoning landfills. Unfortunately, the administrations have taken advantage of the situation and have implemented technologies but not in the logic that the communities have proposed. Thus, in 2011 biogas extraction was created as a private company, which favors the continuation of the burial of Municipal Solid Waste, MSW. 

Since 2005, in order to prevent the expansion of the landfill by another 500 ha, the community made an agreement with the owners of the gasification (India) and thermolysis (Spain) technologies to form social enterprises and solve the conflict, incorporating the affected community. Administrations have repeatedly refused to do this, and today it is especially important because Bogotá intends to extend the environmental license for another 30 years, condemning the surrounding communities to continue suffering the impacts of the landfill’s existence. 

Energy autonomy is urgent in a territory that seeks a dynamic balance, and a change is urgently needed in the final disposal of MSW that has created a social, environmental and ecological debt over the last 30 years in the Tunjuelo river basin in Bogota. The change in patterns of energy use and consumption impacts the administration of the city, the community organization and the artifacts that transform and must go through a democratization of services for the majority, especially with the victims of the Doña Juana landfill. 

Building a shared future in the territory, as a transition to democracy with social and environmental justice, effectively involves integrating diverse uses of energy, especially community and alternative energy, which communities have been shouting about for years.

Technical characteristics of the proposal

The socio-technical components are aimed at adapting regulations to allow effective participation, to determine the creation of social enterprises with the communities affected by the existence of the Doña Juana landfill (as an action of social and environmental justice with the territory). Similarly, the installation of several MSW treatment plants based on thermolysis and gasification for the production of electric energy, hydrogen, and other petroleum by-products from MSW up to 2000 tn/day.

Productive, community, environmental, or economic processes or activities that were positively impacted by the implementation of the community experience of TEJ.

The defense of the proposal has led to persecution by the state and paramilitarism (sponsored by the capital bloc), jail and exile, the moral and life costs have been total. However, academia and social processes have been good allies in making the problems and proposals visible, although there is still a long way to go.

Beneficiaries of the experience

60% women, 40% men, 30% children 30% youths

  1. Proposal for an inclusive social enterprise.
  2. Agreements with technology owners.
  3. Territory with a shared vision of the future.
  1. Administrations co-opted by the interests of the business of burial, collection, sweeping and use of garbage. 
  2. No political will to make the technological transition. 
  3. Emerging damage to the environment and naturalization of the situation by the population. 
  4. Cooptation of the population by multinationals in the business. 
  5. Paramilitarism.
Impact of the community experience of TEJ on public policy

-A social management plan was developed with the UN with a focus on human security, but it has been unfulfilled by the administration since 2011. 

-They obtained an agreement from the city to implement technologies at the landfill. 

-Recognition of an area of influence.