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Revista Costarricense de Ciencias Médicas

Print version ISSN 0253-2948


CHACON, Ligia  and  FREER, Enrique. Impacto ambiental del precario Villa Libertad, Pavas. Rev. costarric. cienc. méd [online]. 2000, vol.21, n.1-2, pp.57-77. ISSN 0253-2948.

Pavas is the ninth district of San José’s the capital of Costa Rica. It has 80 000 inhabitants on a 9.3 Km2 extension. In the beginning the district’s land was used for pasture and agricultural purposes but its population grew very fast since 1960, with an increase of the urban developments in great part of its land as a result. In 1978 the land on the west side of the district was constantly invaded by groups of slum settlers and at present the district counts with 18 precarious settlements. Villa Libertad is one of them en Pavas. It is now considered that precarious settlements exert a great pressure on the environment with the destruction of its physical and biological resources, which at the same time has a direct incidence on the individual and collective health illness process. Even thou the precarious settlement is not a current problem in Costa Rica this phenomenon worsen in the last 15 years. The aim of this study is to improve the lack of information about the impact which the precarious settlements exert on the environment is the reason of this work. The hypothesis was that the "Precario Villa Libertad" exerts a negative impact of great importance on the local environment, and furthermore this impact has a potential and real capacity of affecting the health of its inhabitants. Variables such as: confinement, fire risk, collapse risk, and environment pollution were analyzed along with their indicators to prove the environment impact, and the variables illness and health concepts were analyzed to prove the persons grade of consciousness on this respect. This study proved a high housing and population density with great confinement of persons as well of houses. The risk of fire and soil, water and air pollution were evident. It is concluded therefore that Villa Libertad exerts a negative, severe, and accumulative impact on the environment and this is harmful to the integral health of its people and to the inhabitants of the surrounding urban settlements.

Keywords : Environment impact; precarious settlements; Villa Libertad; Pavas.

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