It is the end of another day for Hassan, a migrant worker from Morocco who has spent the past 12 hours under a sweltering late summer sun harvesting vegetables in one of the vast greenhouses of Almería, southern Spain.
The vegetables he has dug from the red dirt are destined for dinner plates all over Europe. UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Lidl and Aldi all source fruit and vegetables from Almería. The tens of thousands of migrant workers working in the province are vital to the Spanish economy and pan-European food supply chains. Throughout the pandemic, they have held essential worker status, labouring in the fields while millions across the world sheltered inside.
Yet tonight, Hassan will return to the squalor and rubbish piles of El Barranquete, one of the poorest of 92 informal worker slums that have sprung up around the vast farms of Almería and which are now home to an estimated 7,000-10,000 people.
Here, in the middle of Spain’s Mar del Plastico (Plastic Sea), the 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) of farms and greenhouses in the region of Andalucía known as 'Europe’s garden', many of El Barranquete’s inhabitants don’t have electricity, running water or sanitation.
Read more at The Guardian.