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Ban on animal-drawn carts in Berazategui, Argentina


Description:

On March 21stof 2019, the Municipality of Berazategui, Argentina, passed an ordinance through which they would ban any animal-drawn carts in the whole district. This ordinance would mainly affect wastepickers since they work with them. Taking this ban as a wastepickers’ labour persecution, on May 26th, waste pickers appealed the ordinance and won. The success on the court might be shorter than expected since as announced by the Municipality, they would fight back. The approval of the ordinance could expose waste pickers and their families to a loss of their livelihoods and the labour rights they have worked so hard to gain. 

Berazategui is a district which forms part of the Gran Buenos Aires metropolitan area in Argentina and has as main city the City of Berazategui. More than 300 hundred informal recyclers live and carry their economic activities only in the city [1]. That means, they collect, sort, recycle and sell the materials that can be reused. They use circular economy as a tool of social inclusion and generator of employment in the waste management area of the district. Waste pickers in the district are divided by the type of activities they do, from door to door collection to sorting waste in dumps, helped by their animal-drawn carts.

On March 21st, the major of Berazategui district approved the ordinance nº 5694, by which any animal-drawn vehicle was banned in the whole district except for touristic and/or cultural aims. This ordinance also contemplates the creation of a census of waste pickers, in order to eventually giving them an electric bike. The cost of the electric bike would be discounted from wastepickers’ gains. The ordinance came as a measure to fight animal abuse, since there had been cases where some of the animals that powered the carts had died [2]. 

On the other hand, wastepickers stated that this ordinance in the name of animal abuse is just another way of persecution and dispossession from their jobs and livelihoods [3]. Moreover, they claim that have been given only 32 bicycles, and that they were not enough to cover their needs. This ordinance marginalizes the work of old waste pickers or the ones that suffer from health problems. They can’t allow themselves to work at a lower level i.e. not handling as much as load as they were able to do before. Further, until all the bikes are given, months can pass, and they can’t afford that. 

To show their discomfort and disagreement with this ordinance, two demonstrations took place in front of the Municipality. On April 15th and 25th, waste pickers from Berazategui took the streets to protest against this ordinance since they see their families’ livelihoods put at risk [4][5]. As they stated, they tried to establish a dialogue with the Municipality, but didn’t receive any response from them. They’re willing to analyze different alternatives, but ones that cover their needs and allow them to carry on with their activities in normality. 

On May 1st, the ordinance became official in the whole district and it would affected every single wastepickers’ livelihoods in Berazategui but, on May 26th, the ‘Federación Argentina de Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores -CTEP’, an Argentinian organization of wastepickers had filed an appeal against the ordinance nº5694, which they won. Through this appeal, the waste pickers’ organization defended their right to work with their animal-drawn carts, but not closing themselves to finding other alternatives. Further, they ask for the state recognition of the important labour they do. They aimed the Municipality to stop with their persecution and to stop criminalizing the recycling activities they carry on.

On June 1st, the Municipality of Berazategui [6], expressed their disagreement through a statement and warned the waste pickers that they would fight back the appeal. The conflict is ongoing [7].

Currently, the ordinance only affects the city of Berazategui and not the whole district. Moreover, this appeal is under work whilst waste pickers from Berazategui see their livelihoods put at risk and they keep doing their job with an uncertain future. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Ban on animal-drawn carts in Berazategui, Argentina
Country:Argentina
State or province:Berazategui
Location of conflict:Berazategui
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:+300 waste pickers' families
Start of the conflict:21/03/2019
Relevant government actors:Municipality of the district of Berazategui. http://www.berazategui.gov.ar
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Federación Argentina de Carboneros, Carreros y Recicladores-CTEP: http://faccyr.org.ar
The Argentinian organization of waste pickers.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:The 'Federación Argentina de Carboneros, Carreros y Recicladores-CTEP' are willing to analyze possible alternatives to carts but there has been no dialogue from the part of the Municipality.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:On the one hand, the ordinance was appealed and the waste pickers' organization won in court. On the other hand, the Municipality has announced their intentions to fight back that decision. Therefore, putting at risk waste pickers' livelihoods again.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ordinance nº5694: Every animal-draught cart is banned from the district of Berazategui, except the ones with a touristic and/or cultural purpose.
http://sistemas.berazategui.gov.ar/consejo_deliberante/admin/archivos/ordenanzas/0001648.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] Periodico El Progreso, 2019a. Protesta de carreros y cartoneros frente a la Municipalidad de Berazategui. Period. El Prog
https://www.periodicoelprogreso.com/protesta-de-carreros-y-cartoneros-frente-a-la-municipalidad-de-berazategui/40729/2019/

[1] Infocielo, 2019. Mussi quiere sacarles los caballos a los cartoneros y reemplazarlos con bicicletas. Infocielo
https://infocielo.com/nota/104774/mussi-quiere-sacarles-los-caballos-a-los-cartoneros-y-reemplazarlos-con-bicicletas/

[2] Berazategui Municipalidad, 2019a. En Berazategui ya no está permitida la tracción a Sangre
http://www.berazategui.gov.ar/noticias/110-general/1703-en-berazategui-ya-no-esta-permitida-la-traccion-a-sangre

[3] Federación Argentina de Cartoneros Carreros y Recicladores - CTEP, 2019. Federación Argentina de Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores - CTEP
https://www.facebook.com/fcartoneros/

[5] Periodico El Progreso, 2019b. Carreros y cartoneros protestaron frente a la Municipalidad de Berazategui. Period. El Prog.
https://www.periodicoelprogreso.com/carreros-y-cartoneros-protestaron-frente-a-la-municipalidad-de-berazategui/41083/2019/

[6] Berazategui Municipalidad, 2019b. Berazategui apelará el amparo contra la prohibición de tracción a sangre. Berazategui Munic.
http://www.berazategui.gob.ar/noticias/110-general/1743-berazategui-apelara-el-amparo-contra-la-prohibicion-de-traccion-a-sangre

[7] Polémica entre Juan Grabois y el intendente peronista de Berazategui por los carros de los cartoneros. Clarin
https://www.clarin.com/politica/polemica-juan-grabois-intendente-peronista-berazategui-carros-cartoneros_0_E9SOHhvQX.html

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Waste pickers mobilization call for April 25th.
https://www.facebook.com/fcartoneros/photos/a.920474671297817/2979104072101523/?type=3&theater

Meta information

Contributor:Valeria Calvas
Last update17/07/2019

Images

 

Demonstration of waste pickers in front of the Municipality of Berazategui April 25th.

 

Demonstration of waste pickers in front of the Municipality of Berazategui April 25th.

 

Demonstration of waste pickers in front of the Municipality of Berazategui April 25th.