Dakar, Senegal – Garbage used for building material
In Médina Gounass neighborhood of Guédiawaye, a slum on the outskirts of Dakar, people use garbage “to shore up their flood-prone houses and streets”. “Garbage, packed down tight and then covered with a thin layer of sand, is used to raise the floors of houses that flood regularly in the brief but intense summer rainy season, and it is packed into the dusty streets that otherwise become canals. The water lingers for months in the low-lying terrain of this bone-dry country. Garbage is a surrogate building material, a critical filler to deal with the stagnant water — cheap, instantly accessible and never diminishing. The plastic-laden spillover from these foul-smelling deliveries pokes up through the sandy lots, covers the ground between the crumbling cinder-block houses, becomes grazing ground for goats, playground for barefoot, runny-nosed children and breeding ground for swarms of flies. Disease flourishes here, aid groups say: cholera, malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis”.
[…] “In an upside-down world where garbage is sought for and dumped among homes, not removed, “people have no alternatives; they are left to themselves; they can only count on themselves,” said Joseph Gaï Ramaka, a leading Senegalese filmmaker, who made a documentary [see below] about an incomplete government effort, the Plan Jaxaay, to build modern housing for people in vulnerable neighborhoods.
Read more: Adam Nossiner, New York Times, 03 May 2009