Last update:
2019-12-21

Wastepickers (such as the Barbechas) struggle forth in post-revolution Tunisia

National authorities, public-private partnerships and NGO's seemed eager to advance waste management in Tunis. But the marginalized informal recycling sector faces difficulties in social recognition.


Description:

Solid waste management in Tunisia 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Wastepickers (such as the Barbechas) struggle forth in post-revolution Tunisia
Country:Tunisia
State or province:Grand Tunis
Location of conflict:Tunis
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Aluminum/Bauxite
Recycled Metals
Plastic, Glass
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2015 a partnership between the German foundation, GIZ, National Waste Management Agency (ANGed) and the municipalities of Ettadhamen-Mnihla and La Marsa led to a pilot project which lasted from January 2015 to June 2015. The project was called "Structural Integration of the Informal Sector into the Municipal Solid Waste Management in Tunisia" and its aim was to try integrate Tunis' wastepickers, called Berbechas, into the formal waste management system. Three methods of integration were implemented during the pilot project[23]:

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Project area:21,263
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:8,000 to 15,000
Start of the conflict:14/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Eco-Lef (-) from Tunisia - Exclusion of Berbechas (wastepickers) in their efforts to ensure that plastic packaging material is collected and recycled
Relevant government actors:National Agency for Waste Management (ANGed)
Ministry of Environment
Municipalities of Grand Tunis (Ettadhamen-Mnihla & La Marsa)
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Labour Organization (ILO) from Switzerland
Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise Network in the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] Region (SWEEP-Net) from Germany - SWEEP-Net was one of the partners involved in the pilot project aimed at integrating Berbechas (wastepickers) into the municipal solid waste management framework in Tunisia
German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) (GIZ) from Germany - GIZ was one of the main entities involved in the pilot project aimed at integrating Berbechas (wastepickers) into the municipal solid waste management framework in Tunisia.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-International Alert
https://www.international-alert.org/
-Tunisie Recyclage
https://www.tunisierecyclage.org/
-The Environmental Protection and Recycling Association (EPRA)
https://www.international-alert.org/stories/scavengers-ettadhamon-district
-Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT)
http://www.ugtt.org.tn/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Trade unions
Wastepickers, recyclers
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Waste overflow
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:The pilot project concerning "Structural Integration of the Informal Sector into the Municipal Solid Waste Management in Tunisia" only lasted 6 months. It seemed a promising way of involving Barbechas and all other relevant stakeholders in sustainable waste management for Tunis. Information regarding the continuation of this project can't be found.

Though at the moment, the NGO, The Environmental Protection and Recycling Association (EPRA), supported by International Alert is actively trying to fill the gap left by the pilot project. For more information see the "Conflict Description".
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The fact that the pilot project was not continued is considered a failure. Instead, as mentioned in the "Conflict Description", a new project involving GIZ and other international, mainly German actors, is taking place from November 1st 2017 to April 30th. The project document claims that it aims to involve all relevant stakeholders when it comes to waste management in Tunis but does not explicitly mention the informal recycling sector.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[23] Tunisia: National guidelines for Structural Integration of the Informal Sector in Solid Waste Management (Abdeljaouad et al. on behalf of GIZ, 05/2015)
[click to view]

[25] Municipal solid waste management in Tunis City, Tunisia (Aydi, 07/2013)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] Djerba, Tunisia: Garbage Disposal, the Environmental Crisis, and the Awakening of Ecoconsciousness (Said, 09/2014)
[click to view]

[7] The scavengers of Ettadhamon district (International Alert, 02/2018)
[click to view]

[8] The “black spots” of Tunisia (Blaise, 10/2014)
[click to view]

[19] Tunisia struggles to solve waste management problems (Boh, 04/2016)
[click to view]

[20] The beginning of the end for the plastic bag in Tunisia? – Zero Waste Tunisia (Zero Waste Tunisia, 02/2017)
[click to view]

[9] Tunisia’s waste pickers seek government recognition (MEO, 08/2019)
[click to view]

[10] Des chiffonniers de Tunis s'organisent pour sortir de la misère [Translated] (L'OBS, 03/2019)
[click to view]

[29] As garbage piles up in Tunisian cities, waste pickers demand recognition (Faroudi, 08/2019)
[click to view]

The “black spots” of Tunisia (Blaise, 10/2014)
[click to view]

[11] Poubelles, les points noirs de la Tunisie [Translated] (Blaise, 08/2014)
[click to view]

Des chiffonniers de Tunis s'organisent pour sortir de la misère [Translated] (L'OBS, 03/2019)
[click to view]

[12] Sos Biaa (Date unknown)
[click to view]

Poubelles, les points noirs de la Tunisie [Translated] (Blaise, 08/2014)
[click to view]

[13] The Crew Bringing Recycling to Tunis (Lageman, 09/2016)
[click to view]

[16] The scavengers of Ettadhamon District - VIDEO (Tabet, 02/2018)
[click to view]

[17] Providing shelter and income for Tunisia's plastic waste pickers - Podcast Report (Bajec, 07/2019)
[click to view]

[2] Tunisia - An Alarming Environmental Situation (08/2015)
[click to view]

[3] Tunisian NGO monetizes rubbish to buy kids' backpacks (05/2018)
[click to view]

[18] Social and solidarity economy is solution to economic development problems (UGTT) (ATAP, 02/2019)
[click to view]

[27] GIZ Tunisia Country Profile (GIZ, 2019)
[click to view]

[28]Auf dem Weg in die Kreislaufwirtschaft [Translated] (GIZ, 12/2017)
[click to view]

[26] En Tunisie, les sacs en plastique ont la peau dure [Translated] (Lac, 10/2016)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Chandni Dwarkasing - EnvJustice ICTA-UAB
Last update21/12/2019
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