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Environmental governance, urban change, and health: An investigation of informal recyclers' perspectives on well-being in Vancouver, BC

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Title: Environmental governance, urban change, and health: An investigation of informal recyclers' perspectives on well-being in Vancouver, BC
Author: Wittmer, Josie
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Parizeau, Kate
Abstract: In Vancouver, informal recyclers take to the streets on a daily basis to salvage and sell recyclable materials from the waste stream. Many of these workers reside in the city’s impoverished Downtown Eastside and are highly stigmatized due to their work with waste and their socioeconomic status. This research is based on 40 interviews with informal recyclers that assessed their perceptions of work, the social determinants of their health, and access to services. I found that informal recycling can simultaneously benefit and worsen the self-reported health status of workers by providing independent incomes, but also exposing workers to health threats associated with solid waste, stigma, and limited access to services and resources. This study suggests that recyclers’ experiences of poor health and inequality exemplify the uneven rollout of well-intended policies in the city’s physical, social, and political spaces, shaping their geographies of survival in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8288
Date: 2014-08
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada


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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada