Last update:
2019-09-09

Wastepickers lose access to recyclable waste due to closure of a landfill, Panama

Denied dump access to wastepickers in the district of La Chorrera, Panama, who might lose the only way to make a living.


Description:

Informal recyclers from the district of La Chorrera, in Panama, were banned from entering the dump they had been working at. The company in charge of the waste management of the district, Empresa Metropolitana de Aseo (EMAS), argued that the dump closed due to the opening of a new one, although it did not fulfil the sanitary requirements demanded to open.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Wastepickers lose access to recyclable waste due to closure of a landfill, Panama
Country:Panama
State or province:La Chorrera
Location of conflict:La Chorrera
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2006, the district of La Chorrera (Panama) gave the rights of waste management of the area to the private company Empresa Metropolitana de Aseo (EMAS), for twenty years, until 2026. In 2016, the public authority Autoridad de Aseo Urbano y Domiciliario (AAUD) informed that the company in charge did not succeed on the task of fulfilling all the sanitary requirements needed to open the new dump ‘El Diamante’. Additionally, in 2017, in order to close the old dump in 'Playa Chiquita', there were some sanitation requirements that needed to be fulfilled, in order to make it a public park as planned

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:200
Start of the conflict:01/10/2017
End of the conflict:31/12/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Empresa Metropolitana de Aseo (EMAS) from Panama - Company which has the waste management right of the district of LA Chorrera in Panama.
Relevant government actors:La Chorrera town hall: the Major of La Chorrera gave traineeship options to the waste pickers that were denied the access to the landfill.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de Panama. Ciudad de Panamá, Panama (WIEGO)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Not negotiated alternative solution.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The major provided a solution in order to improve the situation of the 'pepenadores' from his perspective. He gave the wastepickers the option to enter a traineeship program. Nevertheless, not taking into account their demands nor assuring them a future job.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Nex Noticias: Information about the waste pickers' situation and the new dump operating.
[click to view]

[1] An article talking about the situation of the waste pickers and the company in charge of the waste management
[click to view]

[5] Panamá América. Pepenadores cierran vía de acceso hacia el relleno sanitario El Diamante. El grupo de recicladores, entre ellos adultos mayores, reclaman el acceso al relleno sanitario, luego de que la empresa, dejara de verter desechos. Eric Ariel Montenegro / Panamá Oeste. 04/10/17
[click to view]

[2] Newspaper article talking the road blockade and the situation with wastepickers.
[click to view]

[4] Newspaper Critica: Information of the proposal made by the major of La Chorrera.
[click to view]

Panamá América. Pepenadores cierran vía de acceso hacia el relleno sanitario El Diamante. El grupo de recicladores, entre ellos adultos mayores, reclaman el acceso al relleno sanitario, luego de que la empresa, dejara de verter desechos. Eric Ariel Montenegro / Panamá Oeste. 04/10/17
[click to view]

Nex Noticias: Information about the waste pickers' situation and the new dump operating.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

News talking about the conflict with the waste pickers
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Valeria Calvas
Last update09/09/2019
Comments
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