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Across Buenos Aires, a green and yellow Ciudad Verde logo can be seen emblazoned on the ubiquitous rubbish trucks and the uniforms of street sweepers. The words translate as Green City and serve as a reminder of an official drive to make the capital cleaner and more environmentally friendly.
He works near the fashionable district of San Telmo, in a converted factory. It has the buzz and air of a tech company with plentiful provision of recycling bins for paper, plastic and even tea leaves. It is a way of life and work that Mr Macchiavelli would like to extend across the whole city. At the start of the year, the government imposed a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets. Mr Macchiavelli feared protest. Other efforts have caught on. Large avenues in the city now have dedicated bus lanes , cutting air and noise pollution in their environs by 40 per cent, the minister says.
Waste collection has improved. Residents once would leave bagged rubbish on the pavement in front of their houses and collectors would throw the bags into a passing truck, often leaving litter in their wake. From last year, 28, large bins were distributed around the city and trucks empty them with mechanical arms, leaving less mess. A recycling drive has reduced what needs collecting. More projects are planned or in process. Underground rainwater channels are undergoing expansion to reduce the threat of flooding.
Street lighting is being replaced with energy efficient LED lamps and vehicle emission controls are being imposed. There are plans to collect used cooking oil and electronic and hazardous waste, much of which at present winds up untreated in dumps. Solar power is being tested in parks and hybrid electric buses are to make their first journeys this year. Public education is an important part of the drive.
In , the city launched Green Schools, a programme to raise awareness about recycling and to start vegetable gardens and other ecology-friendly schemes in schools. More could be done to insulate homes to reduce energy consumption, he offers as an example. In , the supreme court ordered the river to be cleaned up, a task for Acumar, an independent public body that is working with the city, provincial and national governments.