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  • Read Patrick Oster's book, "The Mexicans," and specifically the chapter about pepenadores.

    Beaches -- Enviro Issues

  • But that European-style vision of handling garbage stands in sharp relief to the needs of the 1,500 trash pickers, or pepenadores, who rely on the refuse at Bordo Poniente every day for their livelihood.

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  • The city agreed not to close the separation plant where the pepenadores pick through garbage, even though it means the trash must first be delivered to Bordo Poniente, and then reloaded onto trucks to be hauled to the new dumps hours after the pepenadores have finished extracting what they can sell.

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  • The neighborhood garbage trucks carry their own pepenadores, three or four volunteers who dig through household waste.

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  • He ticks them off: street sweepers, garbage collectors, pepenadores, junk dealers and the families they support.

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  • But the pepenadores can still make politicians take notice.

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  • In response, when Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City turned up on Dec. 19 to close the 975-acre landfill and to announce a project for a power plant fueled by the dump's methane, he also had to promise that the pepenadores could stay.

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