Chan Chan: World Heritage Rubbish dump

The title and the picture for this article are courtesy of a good friend of mine who went out to see Chan Chan and was appalled by how much garbage people have thrown around the place.

I’m not sure who is responsible for this mess.  Are tourists throwing all this junk out on the ground on the way to visit the magnificent ruins of Chan-Chan?  It doesn’t seem to make sense that they’d travel thousands of miles just to desecrate the place they had purportedly traveled to see.
Are Peruvians doing it?  Are they dropping garbage over one of their most important World Heritage sites?
Really, this whole thing is an enigma.  If you talk to any Peruvian you will know that they are filled (and rightfully so) with an enormous pride in their country and all the beauty it contains.  But why then do they allow one of their most valuable world heritage locations to be turned into a garbage dump?
Who is responsible?  
Or perhaps more importantly, who is going to clean it up?
I don’t think it’d be all that difficult to pass a law saying that if you dumped garbage all over a world heritage site, you should be sentenced to some sort of penalty (perhaps the penalty could be that you are forced to clean the site up for a day…even if you just dropped a bottle cap or something).
I think the fact that Chan Chan is in the state it is, is just because people aren’t aware of how BAD it looks to have garbage all over the place.  Or maybe they ARE aware of how BAD it looks, but they don’t recognize how BADLY it reflects on Peru and its people.
I have to say that I think this has to be taken care of.  I’m just politely mentioning this because when people see a garbage dump like this, they develop an unflattering mentality of Peruvians which is a shame because I know Peruvians to be the best, most kind-hearted, and hardest working people in the world.
Don’t let tourists get the wrong impression of you.  Clean up Chan Chan!

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1 Comment

  1. Laurel Thompson

    I totally agree. With both assertions, that Peruvians are awesome and also there is a widespread lack of awareness and education about taking care of the environment and properly disposing of trash. One time I was at an event in Sacsayhuaman near Cusco and I noticed a little girl about 9 throwing her soda pop bottles on the ground. Her dad was right there. When I handed it back to her and told her not to throw it on the ground, she looked extremely surprised and said, "What should I do with it then?" She clearly had no previous training about this at all.

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