De kaller det «Costa del Polythene» eller «Mar del Plastico», det dreier seg om et enormt drivhusområde ved Almeria i Spania. 400 kvadratkilometer kystområde (nesten så stort som Oslo fylke) er lagt under plastikk for å produserer grønnsaker for det europeiske markedet. Avisa The Guardian satte søkelyset på dette området i 2011 og skrev:
The trade in vegetables grown in the region meets UK demand for all year-round fresh salad. It is worth €2bn a year to the Spanish economy, according to José Ángel Aznar, professor of applied economics at the university of Almeria. Nearly all the leading retailers across northern Europe, including British supermarkets, source salad crops from the region when their own season ends. They buy at auction from the co-operatives to which the farmers belong.
But the boom has only been possible thanks to migrants. The hothouses have needed a large supply of cheap labour that can be turned on and off at a moment’s notice. The work is irregular and arduous, and with temperatures reaching 40C-45C is unattractive to the local population. So it has sucked in thousands of illegal workers, first from Morocco, then from eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
Arbeiderne er uorganiserte, de har som oftest ikke oppholdstillatelse eller id-papirer. Det gjør at det er lett for eierne å utbytte dem. Network for the promotion of sustainable consumption in European regions
skriver om disse arbeidsforholda:
- About 100.000 migrants, who have come with great expectations and hopes for a better life in Europe, work under degrading conditions in the so called “invernaderos”, the greenhouses of Almería.
- Especially in the warm spring and summer months, the temperature under the plastic foils rise up to 50 degrees and make the hard physical work a misery. Breaks are rare and toilets are not to be found around the greenhouses.
- Corresponding to the collective bargaining agreement workers should earn a wage of 44 euros per day. Workers told us that they actually earn between 33 and 36 euros, some only 20 euros per day.
- To complain or organize resistance dare only few, because employers often threaten to report to the police.
- Most workers cannot afford an apartment because of the low income and the high rents in Spain. So they have to build communities between the greenhouses, called “chabolas”. These barracks are made out of old pallets, paperboards and plastic waste and people live their under degrading conditions. Sanitary facilities are not to be found far and wide. Quite often there is a fire in the densely built chabolas because power lines were not installed correctly.
Området er så stort at man lett kan se det fra verdensrommet og plastområdet er stort nok til å produsere sin egen albedo-effekt, så mye av solstrålene blir reflektert at temperaturen lokalt har sunket.