Census at the Neuquén garbage dump: 20% of people have been going for less than a year, to generate an income and look for food

The provincial government recognized in the survey it carried out in the garbage dump in the city of Neuquén that poverty grew. Of the population surveyed, 19.9% ​​stated that they have been attending the environmental complex for a long time. less than a year. «In the interviews they report that as a result of the lack of employment have found in this activity” a «daily income and the food they need for their family«said the team of professionals that toured the territory.

The report was carried out by the Vulnerability Directorate of the Undersecretary of Family, dependent on the Government Ministry led by Jorge Tobares. Martín Giusti has been responsible for the area since May 3.

It was not voluntary work, but at the request of defenders of the rights of Children and Adolescents.

The survey is located in the Colonia Rural Nueva Esperanza neighborhood, where the Neuquén environmental complex is located. The document says that “it once knew how to be a space for producers and breeders could carry out their activities, in order to be able to generate their daily income” and that with “the passage of time the population was changingwhere fewer and fewer crianceros began to be seen, and more people who Given the lack of housing response, they turned their gaze towards this sector of the city.

To this growth, the report explains, is added the so-called Lot 34 “product of the relocation of the former Casimiro Gómez settlement.” There are 14 blocks of land in which more than 1,000 families live daily. This new sector is “close to the garbage dump, place from where you can enter directly through a slight climb of less than 100 meters that faces the lot. “This entrance does not have any type of fence or wire.”

Regarding services, he points out that “at first the power lines arrived” and in 2022 “the water”, although there are areas without coverage that are supplied by trucks. The sector does not have a gas network.

Access to the Colonia Rural Nueva Esperanza health center “is extremely relative.” From Lot 34 to the living room there are three kilometers. At the same distance is the 366 primary school. The CPEM 44 Industrial Park is even further away: eight kilometers.

When it specifically refers to open-air dumps, such as the one in Neuquén, the report states that they “become the source of work for a large number of informal recovererswho perform tasks without any type of personal protection element, nor do they have drinking water for hydration and proper hygiene. They also do not have a safe work area, being exposed at the front of the dump’s discharge.

The municipality of the city of Neuquén receives and treats solid waste from the cities of Centenario, Vista Alegre, Plottier and San Patricio del Chañar. About 10,500 tons of garbage enter each month.


Remove trash after school


The technical team – made up of a duo of professionals from Social Service and Psychology – went to the site four times: on Tuesday, April 30, Thursday, May 2, Friday, May 3 and Monday, May 6. The document does not specify at what times, although from the conclusions it is deduced that the survey was carried out during the day. They carried out two semi-open surveys, with an unstructured approach. Quantitative and qualitative information was collected, on a sample of 66 completed questionnaires.

17% of those who responded were under 18 years old, 26% between 19 and 29 years old, and 53% between 30 and 59 years old. Only one person answered that they were over 60. There is no disaggregation by sex/gender here.

Among the observations, the team identified “a greater number of children and adolescents” who attend the property after 1:00 p.m., once school hours have ended. “Also in this time range there was a greater presence of women,” he added.

41% of those surveyed stated that they have been going to the garbage dump for more than five years and 20% said that it has been less than a year. 59% stated that they go to the property accompanied by their partner or in a family group.

One of the outstanding data is that 57.57% of people did not answer whether they were enrolled in school or not. 26% said yes (the level is not indicated) and 15.15% said no. Attendance at health centers exceeds 50%.

86% of the interviewed population lives in the city of Neuquén and 48.4% is located in the neighborhood and in Lot 34. When asked about services, 33.3% answered that they only have electricity.

Another consideration that the team mentions is that they located “ten armed spaces” within the unloading area by people who live there without any basic services and in “very poor” hygiene conditions.

Some have already settled in the vicinity of the discharge well. Photo Matías Subat.

There is a lack of containment spaces for children


The report indicated that the last survey in the sector was in 2019, after a 13-year-old teenager “suffered an accident resulting from the crushing of a truck.” It was done by the Bassa company, which has the concession for the landfill. At that time he registered between 28 and 30 families who lived off what they managed to acquire in the environmental complex.

The team maintained that far from decreasing, attendance increased and listed four reasons. The first is the growth of povertywith that 20% attendance that was recently noted, and the second the population increase, from the 48.4% that goes from Colonia and especially from Lot 34.

«From the data obtained from the interviews it stands out that they were relocated after the seizure of Casimiro Gómez, and that Seeing and feeling excluded from the city, they have found a way to earn daily income in the garbage dump.replicating ways and teachings of those neighbors who traditionally make a living from this activity. “There are extremely varied population groups, where second or third generations of collectors can be found,” the professionals detailed.

And they stressed: «It is no small detail that the movement of the city towards this sector was not planned, Nor was the distance at which these inhabitants would be from health centers, primary or secondary schools, as well as means of transportation, considered.

The report highlighted that in Lot 34 There is a community promotion center that operates in a trailer and there are no recreational spaces for boys and girls, who easily access the garbage dump since it is in front, without any type of restriction.

A third aspect is precisely the absence of containment spaces after 1 p.m.

«Here you can see a movement of people, a change in population, where many more women with children begin to appear, as well as children and adolescents alone. An informant had told us that many mothers wait until after school and then go. Since there are no places of containment, they must take their children with them. Likewise, the distance from school institutions is evident in the difficulties of regularity in going, noticing a high number of people who have dropped out. This directly affects children and adolescents.«the report emphasized.

The last point is the increase in the amount of garbage that arrives at the complex and makes “have a life of 24 hours.” “Trucks continually enter and leave, continually renewing both the garbage and the people who rotate by schedule to go searching,” the professionals pointed out.

In the conclusions, both highlighted that there is «a potential risk for those children and adolescents who attend this sector. “There is also concern about the school dropout levels among this population and the naturalization of garbage collection as a way of life.”

They assured that not all the population in the place “is open and willing to talk” and that it is necessary not to “hinder their daily work.” They proposed that there be teams to survey what happens at night and in the early morning, and recommended taking a census of the housing conditions of Lot 34.

With these results, the Judiciary yesterday officially asked the Executive for “action plans, articulation, and corresponding referral for family groups that have children and adolescents in their care.”

Barriletes en Bandada is one of the spaces that receives children and adolescents who collect in the garbage dump. Photo Cecilia Maletti.
 
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