Тезисы выступления Айкокуль Арзиевой:

I look at the waste issue in Kyrgyzstan to be able to reflect on bigger things happening in Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan. As I mentioned in the presentation stories of people at the waste dump tell us about existing socioeconomic, political, ethical and problems of not only waste pickers but much wider population in Kyrgyzstan. Waste pickers represent different regions in Kyrgyzstan, different age categories and they are at the waste dump because of many different reasons, like: divorce, inability to pay micro credit, becoming unskilled labor as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, difficulty to adapt to new perception of time (management) and «work ethic» within the city, inability to deal with the rationality of people in terms of how they are treated, living from salary to salary and from debt to debt, kids who do not believe in education anymore and measure «good life» by car and house and etc. But these are issues shared by much wider population of the city, not only by them. The relation of people working at the dump site to the waste is different, some come their to meet their daily needs, some to be able to send their kids to schools, some who simply can’t integrate into any other job opportunity and some who earn much more than anyone else in the city. These cases tell us about structural problems of the city, which will probably produce many more people who will find themselves pursuing these kinds of «professions», «dreams/aspirations» and «lifestyles». In spite of harm that the dump produces people are learning to relate to this place differently…as a place of hope, happiness, peace and integration. And around the world 16 million waste pickers are counted in developing world, since cities and waste they produce is growing, but their government institutions are failing to respond to the issue (not because they can’t, but because for some government officials that cooperate with other informal sectors, waste-as-a resource (new way of relating to it) became a source of «wealth». Since, it is not a secret anymore that in developing world most of the issues are being «solved» by donor organizations, in the context of waste issue in developing countries which has to do not only with environment, but socioeconomic problems as well, the job of waste pickers is widely being normalized and formalized as «city beautifiers» or «waste managers» and by well known international consultants it is being framed as a «sustainable solution» of the problem; ecology is cleaned, incomes are restored and being called «city beautifier» restores their dignity.

The waste dump in Bishkek also became an object of reformation by EBRD. The Bank gave the city 22 mln Euro for building EU compliant recycling plant. The waste dump was framed as an ecological problem and it is indeed so, but it has also socioeconomic aspect. The Bank agrees to deal with that part as well, because it has Safeguard policy that it has to follow and within that policy waste pickers are Project Affected People, because their lives will be affected as a result of the project. And according to the Bank policy the livelihoods of the people need to be restored so, that after the project it will not be worth than it was before. But Project Affected People are not just waste pickers at the dump, many more people (more than 3500 homeless according to informal statistics of 2012) will be also affected; and if they earn daily from 5-25 dollars a day in the context of a city where average salary is 200 usd, how their lives are going to be restored according to the policy??? The Bank says that it is City’s project and City has to take active part in solving the problem of these people, but the City says, they are «informal» and «illegal» as if it was a status they were born with and can’t be solved. If to link solving the issue of these people to Social-funds of the city, then we know that we have about 10 usd monthly unemployment benefit and our homeless centers are in worst condition possible. The prolongation of the project is often explained by «Their» (both Bank’s and City’s) «over concern» with waste pickers, as if it is them who are not allowing them to do what they want to do for the city and out of this way of telling the story, waste pickers are turning to be evil, but the data of my research shows that the story is rather complicated and both stakeholders (City and Bank) playing with words in terms of defining and redefining waste pickers all the time…referring to their «standards, norms, laws» as something fixed and can’t be adapted…while this project is in the process for more than 5 years of studying the waste pickers for more than 5 years and implementation part is turning into a dream, where we constantly hear next year, next year…


Материалы перфоманса творческой группы 705 на свалочном полигоне 30 марта 2014 г.:

Фотографии: Раушанна Саркеева, Аида Сулова (www.sulova.com), группа 705 (www.705.kg).