The Garbage Crisis in Venezuela: Sanitation Issues When the SHTF

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It´s surprising how bad news related to situations generated by the collapse doesn´t stop. I have some ties to a relatively small town. It´s located not so close to any major city, not so far away neither. It´s not so rural, and it still has some of the charms of small towns, while being big enough to not be boring.

That being said, let´s proceed with the most important news I´ve received from my sources there.

With the lack of income, as all of the few money produced is going to someplace (which is not exactly the majority of the Venezuelan people´s pockets but to some tax haven, or maybe private accounts in Turkey, Iran, Andorra or God knows where). Managing a 30 million people country is not exactly easy. And with such a stressed economy, our country is a real mess.

But it´s the only one I´ve got, and have to love it.

There’s a sanitation crisis.

As in most of the cities, the collapse has impeded to the (not elected but imposed by the ruling mafia) “authorities” to handle properly some crucial aspects like city sanitation and public garbage collection system. Collector trucks are no longer functional in almost any city. This originates a huge business for private “spontaneous” entrepreneurs, who swiftly prompt to offer their garbage collection to the communities. Of course, the city employees in charge of the trucks have (very likely) been previously bribed to sabotage the trucks and equipment. No surprises there. Otherwise, those trucks would be working flawlessly, those things are built for heavy-duty. I know what I´m talking about. These “entrepreneurs” hire a few young men to collect and make their routes in the communities. When these brave, generous and kind souls (and yes, I´m being sarcastic as heck) don´t show, garbage starts to pile up. This is exactly what has been happening these last few weeks.

For some reason, from November to after Mardi Gras in February, fires in some places suddenly start. Wild bushes are burning to the ground. Entire mountains that otherwise would be covered in green, are desolated and sad. It´s something unexplainable, and it´s just one of the most outstanding pieces of evidence we could have been populated with the wrong kind of seed. Because many of the areas surrounding the places where fires appear, are the same blocking the roads with violence demanding “the government” to install water pipelines (instead of banding together and work for one month digging a pond to collect some rain water…but maybe I´m wrong by thinking this way).

Trash is being improperly handled and people are getting sick.

When the “private” garbage collection system does not work, people have to deal with the waste. When the town is over 20k people…this can start to become uphill. Especially if it´s a small valley. So people started to select random places to pile up the garbage bags, throw some fuel on, and burn them. My friends living in that town reported that, after two months of such treatment, there was a thick layer of smoke, almost every day since they began.

The person submitting this report was sick with pneumonia, indeed. This is a strong alert. He was in bed, and unable to work.

All of the garbage must be properly selected for disposal.

It´s not healthy to send such amounts of chemicals into the atmosphere!! That person reported to me feeling his nostrils burn, and a few hours later his throat and even his eyes were swollen. This and other symptoms, like sudden weakening and being tired, was what made him look for medical care. Thanks to God, it’s a small town, and good doctors (many of them known by my parents since they were kids) have been able to survive the crisis without running away, as many nurses in the private practice.

You just can´t burn plastics, polymers and all kinds of similar stuff and expect the wind to take it away harmlessly.

It´s going to some other place, and deposit itself there.

It´s heavier than air! What were you expecting?

I am not a specialist on this. But some useful lessons can be learned. Those of you in the bigger countries with more industries, have already a huge advantage at your favor: a fully developed industry, and a recycling culture dating from decades ago.

An entire industry surrounding the recycling, indeed. That is wonderful, and one of the best things we should learn all over the world. Most of the South American countries have barely an incipient industry of this kind, at best. Why, if this is an industry with so much potential? I really don´t know. But in the 5 countries, I´ve been, it´s not easy to find a well-tuned recycling facility. Some exceptions, of course, but we could do much better.

Use that in your favor, then.

The worst thing is, this is happening in some other parts of the country. Waste is being openly burned, without any consideration for the inhabitants of the nearby communities. This is generating already some diseases in the breathing apparatus of people. We all know already how antibiotics are scarce and expensive, so getting sick because of a totally avoidable cause is…well, unfair. So to speak. People are burning here and there the trash, using empty lots, without too much control nor care and the smoke is getting people sick.

Biodigesters are one answer.

Most people don´t have the habit of selecting the waste to dispose of in a more environmentally friendly manner. That´s why biodigesters are one of my priorities. Using all of the fruits and vegetable residues to generate fuel for my kitchen in a country where you have to get on a 5 hours line to buy bottled gas? Priceless. (F*** u, Commies. Pardon my French, people)

It´s quite interesting to learn this. One could suppose that, under the current circumstances, less food and consumables available because of the collapsing economy would mean much less waste.

But as I´ve mentioned in some other articles, something odd seems to be happening with the economy: over 120 fancy, luxury places have been opened, and almost all of them with ties traceable straight to people related to the ruling mafia. And this, somehow, added to the recent Christmas season, ended up increasing the amount of waste. However, people found some creative ways to “recycle” some stuff, especially with the lack of toilet paper. There is a lot of options with this.

But let´s keep talking about waste disposal. Biodigesters would take care of most of our vegetable residues. Used TP (and anything used to replace it) can be burned in a small, and dedicated firepit dug into the ground. However, polymers need some other treatment to decompose properly, just like metals. It´s not all that bad, after all. If we choose wisely, we should be in a position generating a small amount of waste, manageable enough without harming our patch of land and consequently affecting the surrounding ecosystem.

Be sure to have masks.

After this story, I find quite important to have in our BOB a good gas or dust protection mask. I´d have to select carefully what to carry because an Israeli type mask would mean a huge problem if some commies get their nose inside my bag. Those guys have been brainwashed to the extreme, and just by showing off to their superiors (although this attitude is universally found, really) they are doing their work, could make someone go through a hard time just for fun.

Roaming on a bike, and getting into a dense cloud product of wildfires (this has already happened to me, and it´s quite dangerous and scary).

I even saw many (deadly) accidents because of stupid drivers launching inside a dense cloud next to wildfires at the side of the road, without any visibility. Gene Pool cleaning, though.

A side effect of the garbage piles, other than suffocating the population, is the increasing amount of vermin like rats and mice.

This collapse has not been something easy to deal with.

It has affected millions of people, my family included in one way or another. It´s not something you wish to get into, but you just can´t avoid it. You can be prepared, or partially prepared as I thought I was. If my financial situation in the good times would have been better, my cottage would have been ready. It´s a shame family situation got into all of this and messed up with the plans. Should I have known how things were abroad, I´d thought twice about being here for so long and spending all of my hard-earned money paying rent, instead of investing in my cottage.

However, some reports of improvement have been showing up. However, this is going to need a careful review, with boots on the ground to assess properly the degree of the devastation. People with businesses can´t just pack and leave behind their lifetime efforts. This is something that many people seem not to understand when I talk about coming back, even for a short time. There are a lot of patrimonies I have to take care of. Not just mine but my kiddo’s.

That will be covered in more detail in the next few weeks. So please stay tuned.

Thanks for your reading, and I appreciate a lot all of your donations!

See you soon, and be safe!


About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

Leave a Reply

  • You can burn trash without issues. The issue is the amount of people stuffed into one area. Everyone’s situation is different but if your serious about preparedness then moving to the least populated area you can is a top priority. It doesn’t have to be the remote wilderness but you can go from touching you neighbors place from your place to have an acre or three.
    People = Issues

    • Dear Matt.,

      Yes, you are right. A friend´s house has been looted a few weeks ago, taking even the porcelain WCs off the ground. It had no one to watch for it, and it was in a semi-secluded location, not too far from the city, in the East Coast of Venezuela.
      That´s why we need something out of sight. People, be creative.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Best regards.

  • As a child, long before even garbage service was available in our remote area, we burned paper, reused what we could and buried the plastic and other things we couldn’t repurpose. In a shtf situation that’s probably what I would do, obviously choosing the location very carefully in terms of water sources. It’s not optimum for the environment, but burning plastics in particular has an immediate negative impact. Unfortunately, we have so much more plastic in our garbage than we used to.

  • Many years ago, when I was a child growing up in the 60’s, incineration was allowed. Paper products mainly, there wasn’t quite the dearth of plastic packaging that we encounter today, but a large portion of a family’s weekly trash output could be burned. Just about every house had a dedicated incinerator in the backyard. Then in the late 60’s, some environmentally minded city electees decided to ban private incineration to increase the air quality of the town. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense since the town’s steel mill, the main industry, continued to belch their produced smoke into the air, but hey, everyone got on board. Overnite, the number of trash services quadrupled. Now approaching 5 decades since the ban went into effect, they’re searching for the next landfill area (I believe this is the 4th new landfill in those 50 years). Of course, no one thinks about what will happen when all that SH*T eventually reaches the water table, but hey, that’s for the future to figure out right?
    My point is, incineration is nasty, but as long as only certain items are burned, it can leave the surrounding air pretty quickly (plastics aren’t one of those things that should be burned). As long as it was done on certain days, in limited amounts, it wasn’t a real big issue. Unpleasant, yes, but so’s God only knows what leached into the aquifer.
    The reality is, when we stopped burning, we created a whole shopping list of other problems that are potentially even more dangerous than the irritant of wood smoke. A damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
    Composting is great, we’ve practiced it for 30 years. Recycling works, but the cost to the consumer is frequently very prohibitive.
    Seeing what’s happening to a country that’s collapsing is very sobering. Sanitation in some of America’s biggest cities (California I’m talking to you), has become so lax, that an epidemic of 3rd World diseases is but a vector away. Yes, we need to address environmental issues, but putting our trash into the ocean or the ground isn’t the answer. It just leaves an even bigger problem for the future. As I see it, we need to reach an equilibrium between burning, recycling and burying, and it’s going to take some smart folks to realize and research the best and safest way to handle this growing problem, not just in countries like Venezuela, but world wide.

  • Garbage starts attracting roaches, then rats, then plagues and disease come of it. This just drives Demoncraps crazy because it reminds them of the New World Odor and they go into a frenzy of sorts.

    Like the Nancy Pelosi or Governor Northam they get HIGH on the fumes. So rats and roaches are not your only problems when Demoncraps create a garbage dump of your State.

  • As I’ve said before, I’m not a prepper, I’m an American. Meaning, I’m not waiting for some SHTF event in the future I am trying to gain more and more independence from”my” government RIGHT NOW, TODAY, and on a day to day basis. Including issues like garbage and sanitation and all that.

    A lot of the stuff I do to make this happen is pretty standard, even boring, but it all “adds up”. I have gutters on every roof surface and ohhhh, I’d say about 800 rain barrels to collect it all, so it can go into my gardens. I compost almost everything in big 50 gallon barrels with air holes made with a 1/2 inch spade bit; even bones and meat after being furiously boiled into a soup gets poured into the barrels, along with a heapin’ helpin’ of horse poop from some local farms, and some powdered lime. Everyone in my neighborhood gripes about how they don’t recycle anything? Bollocks! There’s a reclamation center right down the road. I just gather up metals, glass and plastic in big bags until they’re full, then truck ’em down there.

    Bottom line, I do everything possible to make sure I don’t depend on the government for garbage collection or sanitation of any kind. And I’m doing that RIGHT NOW, not at some point down the road.

    My next step is to set up an alternate bathroom setup. So I was stoked to see this “bio digester” contraption the author was referring to; I’m definitely studying up on that next

  • Sanitation is one of the biggest drawbacks of living in an Urban environment in distressed times , before during and even after SHTF.
    Although During a true SHTF scenario there will be a whole lot less packaging and containers to deal with , but the personal waste products generated, will become a big problem once city services not longer function.
    Burning “garbage” and other disposal items has for centuries been the disposal method of choice.
    Now with all the plastics and chemicals it is a bit more problematic. But once you hit a true SHTf scenario that will take care of itself.

    The problem in Venezuela as well as many other countries in a similar state, is that they are in a sort of limbo. Stuck between a major Depression and a true SHTF scenario.
    They still have a some what functioning government and economy and they can still import products from the rest of the world. Which keeps it from being a real SHTF scenario.

    If it was a true SHTF scenario, many people would flee the cities, violence would increase and food supplies would be nearly non existent. There would be no electricity, gas or food coming into the country or being produced. No consumer products to purchase at the stores, no products except what you can raise your self or some one else can and that you can barter for.
    So much of the garbage problem would decrease, yet the sanitation issues would tend to increase as would disease. Poor nutrition and a lack of medical supplies to treat disease would be the basis for this situation to occur. Often a rodent problem or other disease carrying creatures will increase the spread of disease in urban areas also.
    Any time you have large numbers of people in a city or a confined area, sanitation issues and the related disease problems are a guaranteed thing.

    • Dear Mic,

      You’re absolutely right. I’m just hoping that doesn’t happen though. The time to prepare a cottage is now. I mean, build the needed infrastructure like pens, coops, a biodigestor (something that could have been a real solution in the actual conditions where there is no bottled gas) and at the same time to improve the nutrition of people, something that my folks have had to do by force. As a cat lover, the rodent problem is not much of a concern. But once the city dwellers start to lock their places and flee away…the only solution is to hunker down, and hide in the bushes. That’s one of my main reasons to come back: preparing my cottage for what seems to be coming in the next couple of years.

      Be safe!

  • Plastic certainly made extraordinary changes possible on our planet. Foods grown and prepared all around the world, hyper-cleanliness for nearly everyone, protection form all those sticky, oily things we need to carry. Who would have thought we would eventually choke ourselves to death by remaining so beautifully clean and fresh? I hope that for your nation, those who who arise to restore the health and strength of your culture can make and take the time to include balance and integration between human and natural resources. I watched your videos, a further lesson in what it is like to survive in a shattered economy. Walking 6 hours each way to the family land and keeping hope in your heart underscores how much inner strength you have had to call on. I thought you might find it useful to know about an organization that is dedicated to showing all people of our world how to restore water systems as a central resource for recovering the vitality, productivity and harmony in the life of any community, whether in extreme desert or remote mountains. The members teach each other showing examples of how communities impoverished by mismanagement of their resources can use knowledge of proper water management techniques to become self-sufficient and stable, often relying on hand labor to meet their goals. They have been producing a series of video webinars available to watch at no charge here: Please keep telling us your stories. It is going to help to remember that nothing is too tough to survive.

    • Hi Sandy! I’m going to check those webinars! for some reason I’m not receiving my notifications about new comments in my articles. Thanks!

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