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Accessing Trash: Conflict, Inequality, and the Managua Municipal Waste Site

2010, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, Geography.

Solid waste is integral to the daily material flows and processes related to urban production and consumption. Solid waste is also a valuable resource for 1% of the population of the developing world who informally recover recyclables from the waste stream to make their livelihood. Until now, conflict and inequality surrounding access to solid waste and recyclables remained unexplored.


In Managua, Nicaragua, the management of the capital city’s solid waste has become the focal point of socio-environmental concern. Indeed, solid waste (mis)management threatens public and environmental health. Based on personal research carried out in 2009 and 2010, this case study analyzes the macro- and micro-level processes that create inequality in and around “La Chureca,” the city’s only waste site. To untangle the myriad historical and present-day social, economic, political and environmental problems that marginalize waste site workers, I employ an urban political ecology framework. Additionally, I introduce the concept of metabolism to analyze the relationship that exists between human beings and solid waste. From this intimate socio-natural link, the identity of both materials and actors are metabolized, or transformed. However, there are multiple identities assigned to informal workers in La Chureca by outsider actors. I propose that these new identities create conflict and inequality between "insider" and "outsider" informal workers.

Kendra McSweeney, PhD (Advisor)
Becky Mansfield, PhD (Committee Member)
Cathy Rakowski, PhD (Committee Member)
117 p.

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Hartmann, C. (2010). Accessing Trash: Conflict, Inequality, and the Managua Municipal Waste Site. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Hartmann, Christopher. "Accessing Trash: Conflict, Inequality, and the Managua Municipal Waste Site." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2010. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 01 Jul 2015.

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Hartmann, Christopher "Accessing Trash: Conflict, Inequality, and the Managua Municipal Waste Site." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2010. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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