The closing of the massive open-air dump comes just over two weeks before the start of the Rio+20 environmental summit.
The move is expected to leave more than 1,700 people out of work including hundreds of "catadores," garbage pickers who would sift through mountains of trash seeking recyclable materials.
Local authorities claimed former workers will get compensation of about $7,000 and will be retrained. Yet one local community leader was reportedly skeptical:
"Many people left the local drug gangs to work here, as no questions were asked and they didn't need any qualifications," (Nilson Jose dos Santos) told Globo Online.
"I wonder if those people will be able find new jobs elsewhere or whether they will have to go back to the drug trafficking gangs."We have mentioned the 2010 documentary "Waste Land" before but in light of the closing of the Jardim Gramacho landfill it's worth reexamining it. The Oscar-nominated film shows an art project where the catadores created unique self-portraits by using garbage. As seen in the film's trailer, their artwork reveals their unfulfilled aspirations but also great personal pride: