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Staggeringly, over 40 percent of Guatemala City’s residents live in slums, similar to those bordering the landfill.
Approximately 4,000 men, women, and children live within the squatting communities, scavenging in the dump for personal items, including that which can be used for housing and served up as food, as well as sought after for re-sale on the open market.
60 percent of the Guatemalan population is of Mayan descent, often speaking indigenous Mayan dialects, while the remaining 40 percent speak Spanish.
Those that migrated from the highlands to the lowlands during and after the civil war generally speak dialects of the Mayan languages.
The margins of the landfill are so heavily populated that they are considered a municipality of the city.
Reportedly, 30,000 squatters reside along the perimeter of the garbage dump.