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Health Perceptions of Child Waste Pickers In El Salvador Tania Gavidia.

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Presentation on theme: "Health Perceptions of Child Waste Pickers In El Salvador Tania Gavidia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Perceptions of Child Waste Pickers In El Salvador Tania Gavidia

2 What is a Waste Picker? “ Those who collect, classify and sell recyclable materials from mixed waste” Furedy, C Social Aspects of Waste Recovery in Asian Cities. Environmental Sanitation Reviews series Vol: 30: 2- 52

3 General Characteristics Poor Low education No skill to be employed in other sectors Women and children Often settle around the Open Waste Site (OWS) Eerd, M. V The Occupational Health Aspects of Waste Collection and Recycling: An inventory study in India. UWEP Working Documents, UWEP Working Document 4, Part II. (accessed 20 August 2007)http://www.waste.nl/page/157/offset/30

4 Child Waste Picking Reasons for working as a child waste picker: Poverty Unable to enrol in school Help parents to support the family Flores, D., and M. Sagot Guidelines to promote decent work for young ex-child labourers in marginalised urban zones. Report for (ILO/IPEC)  One of the worst forms of child labour  Children working alongside their families  Work for little or no pay  Most likely to be poor and come from families with low education

5 Field Work Central America

6 Province of San Miguel, El Salvador

7 Agua Salada Las Casitas Las Penitas

8 The Plan … Selection criteria: Parent/Guardian must have worked at the site > 2 months Parent/Guardian must have worked at the site > 2 months Parent/Guardian must have waste picker child Parent/Guardian must have waste picker child Child must be under the age of 18 (ILO and El Salvador’s Codigo de Trabajo) Child must be under the age of 18 (ILO and El Salvador’s Codigo de Trabajo)  Questionnaire  Semi-structured interview  Dec 2007-February 2008  Study:  ~30-40 minutes  5 wks (2 wks)  25 children (18)  25 parents (14)  Observational Study  2 days

9 Objectives To assess the child’s level of awareness of health risks To determine the child’s attitudes towards waste picking To determine if waste picking affects the child’s perception about him/herself To determine dependency/reliance on the Uluazapa Open Waste Site (OWS) for survival

10 Qualitative Data Observational Study Initial ethics approval for observational study only Initial ethics approval for observational study only Waste picker families Waste picker families Adults: 6-7hrs/day (mostly women) Adults: 6-7hrs/day (mostly women) Men have alternative jobs Men have alternative jobs Most children work after school, but they also work before school or both (4-5hrs/day) Most children work after school, but they also work before school or both (4-5hrs/day) Mostly male children Mostly male children

11 Waste pickers in action… Pictures…

12 Child working amongst smoke from burning rubbish

13 Resting Place

14 Consent Ethics approval in Feb 2008 to carry out interviews with children and parents Ethics approval in Feb 2008 to carry out interviews with children and parents Consent obtained from parents consent Consent obtained from parents consent Participation was voluntary Participation was voluntary Right to withdraw anytime Right to withdraw anytime

15 Results Demographics PARENTS N = 14 N = 14 Age: 38 Age: 38 Education: 1 st Grade Education: 1 st Grade 5/14 = single parent households 5/14 = single parent households 7/14 = worked >12y 7/14 = worked >12y 14/18 = women 14/18 = womenCHILDREN N = 18 N = 18 Age: 11 Age: 11 M:F : 11:7 M:F : 11:7 Worked ~ 4hrs/day Worked ~ 4hrs/day 6/18 missed school 6/18 missed school

16 Qualitative Data: semi-structured interview Reason for taking children to work at the OWS: Economic hardship Economic hardship Male Male Eldest sibling Eldest sibling Parents knew working at OWS exposed children to health hazards Although most adults had alternative job options, waste picking provided flexibility and a good income

17 Health Effects Reported by Children Health Effects Reported Incidence Headaches5 Back Aches4 Cuts3 Fall2 Vomit3 Diarrhoea2 Respiratory health effects18 Syringes6 Dry/sore/Itchy eyes1

18 Qualitative Data: semi-structured interview 12/18 of children thought waste picking was hazardous to their health 12/18 of children thought waste picking was hazardous to their health 11/18 children said they liked working at the OWS 11/18 children said they liked working at the OWS 5/18 reported discrimination 5/18 reported discrimination 11/18 children had a negative self perception 11/18 children had a negative self perception

19 People to Thank Ministerio de Trabajo Ministerio de Trabajo International Labour Organisation - El Salvador National Office International Labour Organisation - El Salvador National Office PADECOMSM (Lic. Mario, Lic. Nelson Nolasco y Lic. Mariza Luna) PADECOMSM (Lic. Mario, Lic. Nelson Nolasco y Lic. Mariza Luna) Dr BK Tan (Curtin) Dr BK Tan (Curtin) Thank You


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