La Feria News

Talking Trash

by L Villarreal

In my lifetime of traveling, there is nothing that sings to me like waking up to a cool fall morning in South Texas. At least, that was a memory held dear in the recesses of my mind…until I moved back home last Fall. To put a finer point on the issue, let’s say that those mornings have been replaced by vistas of overflowing garbage cans and a barrage of flies that would make a turd farmer jealous.

But hey, this article isn’t about just about creating awareness…it’s about suggesting solutions, too! So let’s get down to it.

After a 15 minute drive around town, it is clear that the city has some work to do around it’s waste management program. That’s not an opinion, it is a well known fact by this point. My visual inspection of the garbage bins of no less than 12 commercial businesses on a routine drive through town showed me that 10 of them (83%) had overflowing garbage bins.

A third outreach to La Feria City Hall in six months to discuss this information (and the fact that there was also an overflowing trash bin right across the street from their offices) resulted in an offer to have the City Manager’s assistant ring me to schedule an appointment. I can hardly wait to talk trash with our city official!

Overflowing garbage bins outside of a La Feria commercial business.  Larger commercial recycling bins seem more effective at managing the garbage dilemma.

Overflowing garbage bins outside of a La Feria commercial business. Larger commercial recycling bins seem more effective at managing the garbage dilemma.

It is a no brainer that effective waste management from commercial business is absolutely a must, particularly if they are in the restaurant, grocery or consumer goods industries. Suggested solutions might include more effective waste disposal skills, more numerous trash bins and/or more frequent trash pickups.

Couple the somewhat lax commercial trash disposal practices with once a week residential trash pickup and you have a major health and sanitation situation waiting to explode. Large and mid sized cities in other parts of Texas and the U.S. have twice a week garbage pickup as a standard. In short, there seems to be a huge disparity in the results of what “minimum” and “standard” practices are in terms of waste pickup scheduling. While the minimum waste pickup may be one week,

A cursory search of waste management discussion sites produces a number of disturbing concerns including loss of local economic revenue, disease and other health concerns related to poor sanitation enforcement. A very thoughtful website created by students from Namilyango College in Uganda, Africa details in surprising simplicity the importance of proper waste management. Who better to learn from than those who have a long history of dealing with severe sanitation and waste management issues and the diseases that accompany those conditions?

Also, a number of U.S. websites on insect control provide some additional fascinating (and disgusting) information which should help communicate the importance of resolving this stinky situation.

“Did you know that flies can be carriers for infectious disease? Typhoid, cholera, salmonella, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, and parasitic worms can all be transmitted from a fly to, say, your cheese sandwich…Horse manure is the preferred medium [for breeding], but human, and other forms will work just as well. Flies have hairs all over their legs that can carry particles of manure with them wherever they go…and to make matters even more unseemly, the fly regurgitates part of its last meal onto the surface of wherever it lands, so a little bit of fly vomit will be on any food where the fly has landed.” –

Yummy…not. Without reasonable resolution to the waste management challenges in this community, the pestilence producing pests we have come to know and despise have a veritable wonderland of waste in which to wander. Ah, the sweet, sickly smell of decay…let’s hope that particular environmental characteristic is disposed of like yesterday’s trash.

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