Parkietenbos rears its ugly head

If you recall Anouk Balentina, living in the area of the dump and working as a GOA legal advisor, took her employer, or a portion of it, to court demanding the immediate closing of Parkietenbos, the municipal landfill, first opened in 2002.

Balentina lives within smelling distance from the burning pyres. She is a rare-cancer survivor, her children suffer from asthma and respiratory issues, the fumes rising from Parkietenbos have been intolerable for years, but finally not long ago, she decided to ask the court for help so measures could be taken to eliminate the health hazard. She asked the court to restore her Basic Human Right of living undisturbed.

(Sanitation comes under article 25: Right to Adequate Standard of Living.)

The court case was a first. Residents here don’t usually sue GOA for negligence of anything. We usually sit politely and wait for the people in charge of our well-being to act. Most of the time we are forced to wait a long time.

In order to be realistic, the judge granted GOA a stay of three months to act – they said the fastest they could do anything was three months – before the case would be decided on its merits. With or without measures, the nine petitions filed by Balentina regarding the damage and nuisance, smoke, odor, pests, and flies, contain, as you realize, violations punishable by law.

The fires subsided for a while, because the judge obligated GOA to take measures, but in comes CoVid19 and the dump starts smoldering again, under the blanket of TDQ. At night. All witnesses locked up at home. And this time they are burning hazardous waste from the hospital, which by all accounts should be disposed of in the Police incinerator, the one they use to destroy drug seizures.

But no, they are burning medical waste, infectious material, biomedical deliciousness favored by neighborhood flies, who roam the area, at Parkietenbos.  

The burning of the dump during CoVid19 is especially upsetting due to a study which finds a link between air pollution and the increase of CoVid19 death rates.

Balentina gets in touch regularly with the prime minister and the ministers and they reject her calls, block her number, there is no political good will to fix that HUGE challenge in an era where HUGER challenges present, and that is why Balentina turned to the local media, asking for help, as she is cooped at home, unable to open windows, prevented from going outside.

So where is Stichting Parkietenbos, when we need it? Where is the so-called legal body registered by neighbors to fight on their behalf and lobby for the closing of the dump?

Where is the famous task force appointed?

Apparently, Workgroup Waste Processing has been created in 2017, by MinInfra and MinPres, in an effort to appease residents, and pretend to be working on the solution, as a priority.

That is dormant. They now have bigger fish to fry.  

And as is a common practice here, the head of the foundation in doing a great job elsewhere, hired as the PR agency for the government.

They are really doing an excellent job disseminating the correct CoVid19 information, but privately do a great disservice to the neighborhood, they promised to protect.  


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April 13, 2020
Rona Coster