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Under the city, under the streets where you walk, that’s where we dive
Sewer Divers

Our Future Plural partner site, Edible Geography, has posted the transcript of the talk given by one of their invited speakers at Postopolis! DF: Julio Cou Cámara, a sewer diver for Mexico City.

Cámara might seem like a strange choice, but as Nichola Twilley succinctly explains, “the infrastructure of waste disposal is the (frequently invisible) corollary of consumption.” For every input, there's an output.

Here's an excerpt:

People are always wondering why there’s so much flooding in the city. I can tell you that the city floods because of all the rubbish that creates blockages in our drainage system. If we were maybe a bit more conscious about rubbish and we didn’t throw it on the street, we wouldn’t have this many flooding problems in the city. People complain—they say, “There’s almost a lake in the street.” Well, yeah—that lake is there because of your rubbish.

The drainage system is constantly being maintained—all year long, twenty-four hours a day, there are people working. They need a diver when they can’t stop the pumping plant, because if they stopped it, the city would be flooded. That’s when they ask for my help. We go there and we see what the problem is and we do the job.

We work blindly in the black water. It contains animal poo, human poo, hospital waste... any kind of pollution you can think of. All of that is in the sewage water. That’s where we work. Right now there are only two of us diving for Mexico City.

Go read the rest of Cámara's presentation, plus the Q&A afterwards.

The Return of the Sewer Divers

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