Payatas is located in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. One of the distinguishing features of Payatas is the 13 hectare garbage dumpsite known as the Payatas Dumpsite. In the 1970s, the area was only a ravine that was surrounded by farming villages and rice paddies – but at the present, Payatas houses a 50-acre landfill and is called the second smokey mountain.
Smokey mountain was a large landfill, operated for more than 40 years, consisting of over two million metric tons of waste. The flammable substances on decomposing waste led to numerous fires, which have resulted in many deaths.
The area was officially closed in 1995. The site was turned into public housing for the impoverished people living in the slums surrounding the landfill. Finally the slums were also cleared, which were the home of 30,000 people that make their living from picking through the landfill’s rubbish.
Projects have been enforced by the government and non-government organizations to allow urban resettlement sites for the slum dwellers. When Smokey Mountain closed down, many scavengers migrated to the Payatas dump site, where this large scavenging community arose.
The Kindernothilfe (KNH) is running a children feeding center at the dumpsite of Payatas.
Every 6 month they choose another 30 kids for the project to be taught in hygiene, cooking and personal health care. The kids are between 1 and 10 years old and distinctly undernourished.
Fortunately kids are not allowed to enter the dumpsite but they support their parents by sorting plastics, foam or rubber to resell it. Most dangerous is washing plastics standing in a lake of all the plasticizer and microbes. The biggest health problem is drinking water any way. That’s why enlightenment about hygiene is absolutely necessary. Furthermore all kids from the projects have to go to school!