The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Mountains of Trash after Hurricane

Dec 11, 2023

Hurricane Otis hit the Mexican city of Acapulco on October 25, killing at least fifty people, and leaving thirty missing. But the hurricane itself was just the beginning of the disaster.

In addition to the homes, businesses, and infrastructure destroyed, the mayor estimated that 666,000 tons of garbage were still piled across Acapulco a month later, with only about 211,000 tons collected so far. These piles of trash are full of rotten food, human waste, human remains, and millions of cockroaches and other insects. Residents and aid workers alike report stomach infections, rashes, and other illnesses that come from the trash.

The Mexican government sent in thousands of troops and aid workers after the storm hit, but the amount of trash has overwhelmed the available support. The landfill is not big enough, and there are not nearly enough garbage trucks. And of course, the government prioritized restoring power and clearing debris in the wealthy tourist resort areas. Some hotels had even reopened while people in the poor areas farther from the beach still lived surrounded by mountains of contaminated garbage, lacking power, clean water, and hand sanitizer.

Storms like Otis are only going to become more common as climate change continues. But this capitalist society does almost nothing to prepare for them—not in Mexico, nor in the United States.