Social relations within the ejido Los Ángeles around solid waste management

La Sepultura, this place was declared a Biosphere Reserve on June 5, 1995, is an area subject to ecological conservation by the state of Chiapas. Courtesy: More Mexico.

*In Mexico, there are limited studies on the generation and management of solid waste (RS) in rural communities that are located within Protected Natural Areas.

Through a Articleresearchers Julio César Figueroa Sánchez and Juana Cruz Morales* announced that after its founding, the main activity of the inhabitants of the Los Ángeles ejido located within the buffer zone (ZA) of the Sepultura Biosphere Reserve (REVIEW) was the cultivation of corn.

Therefore, the local economy revolved around the planting and harvesting of that grain. However, by the nineties of the 20th century, the activity declined, the closure of parastatal institutions and the opening of the market caused the cultivation of corn to become an unprofitable activity.

Our children did not need to go elsewhere because we gave them work. The problems begin when the guaranteed price of corn ends, the government leaves us helpless. Little by little we were leaving the production of corn and thinking about what else we had to do to support our children and family, said an ejidatario in a reflection workshop.

On the other hand, the entry into force of the REBISE decree and its administration by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) since 1998, began the regulation of other activities that supplemented family income.

Solid Waste became a socio-environmental problem. Courtesy: Greener life.

Among other things, the researchers indicated that the use of fire and the extraction of camedor palm were prohibited. The response of producers in these circumstances it was livestock and migration.

These activities replaced agriculture as the main source of work and had strong economic impacts on the lives of the inhabitants, since they began to obtain extra income that allowed them to invest in various goods and services businesses.

Likewise, the public health and education services of the Cuenca Alta del Río El Tablón (CART) were concentrated in Los Angeles, this caused the inhabitants of other communities to begin to visit the locality on a regular basis.

Other services such as the payment of subsidies and the delivery of social, agricultural and livestock support were also carried out in said community. In addition, came the construction and modernization of the infrastructure, particularly roads and highways.

The foregoing promoted a commercial opening towards other ejidos and towns, facilitating the arrival of merchants from other parts of the region and temporary businesses such as diners, flea markets and agrochemical stores.

This dynamic allowed Los Angeles to establish itself as a small regional development pole within the CART, thus creating the conditions for the local population to have access to a wide variety of items such as: agrochemicals and field supplies, processed foods, clothing, electronics and plastics, which increased in the generation and diversity of RS.

There wasn’t that much waste, like bottles, bags, plastics, nothing; almost no canned things, there was none. What was produced was consumed. He ate healthier. There was no bottled soda, almost none, maybe there was, but I hadn’t come here. What was produced was consumed, for example, the beans go to the same land, rot and are not left as a waste that remains there dirtying, said Isabel, a resident of Los Angeles.


The students collect plastic and aluminum containers, receiving in exchange a payment for each kilo collected. Courtesy: Solid Waste and GIS.

Thus, Figueroa Sánchez and Cruz Morales stressed that lifestyles in Los Angeles have been changing as a result of urbanization and the application of government policies, bringing with them socio-environmental problems.

That’s when they looked at a generation of more and new RS. That, although external actors have been involved to carry out better management, each one of them allies at convenience to meet their objectives.

In addition, each of these actors responds to their own interests, marked by the international market for recycling PET plastic, the researchers indicated.


La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve. Courtesy: CONANP

In this sense, there is no waste governance mechanism, rather they are hierarchical relationships where citizens are subject to rules promoted by “green” associationsdriven by a system of consumption, waste and that uses recycling to create legitimacy.

In addition to this, they affirmed that the municipality does not have the technical or financial capacities to carry out RS management functions, for which reason it yields its responsibilities and makes agreements with recycling companies in order to reach rural communities, promoting private initiatives in the rural environment.

The governance generated around the RS, then, is a consequence of rules imposed by other actors that seek to generate governability, that is, they seek civic obedience, the specialists said.


Julio César Figueroa Sánchez, student of a Master’s Degree in Regional Rural Development from the Chapingo Autonomous University

Juana Cruz Morales, PhD in Rural Development from the Autonomous Metropolitan University

Social relations within the ejido Los Ángeles around solid waste management