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Assessing informal waste recycling in Kanpur City, India

H. Zia (Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India)
V. Devadas (Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India)
S. Shukla (Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 8 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the socio‐economic and environmental implications of the informal sector engaged in waste recycling in the city of Kanpur, with special emphasis on the lives of lowest group of people, i.e. waste‐pickers, and to discuss various possible scenarios to integrate them with the formal sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved field survey of secondary material markets, followed by the administration of questionnaires to 40 respondents belonging to various segments of the informal sector. The questionnaires were designed to elicit information on the socio‐economic characteristics of the respondents. The study was conducted in 2004.

Findings

The study has attempted to delve into the socio‐economic conditions of the waste and dump‐pickers, the lowest segment of the informal recycling sector. The study of the status of existing alliances of formal‐informal sector and the community shows that there is a lot of scope for improvement in the management of solid waste and the condition of the informal waste‐recycling sector. Stronger alliances have the potential to improve the services as well as the socio‐economic condition of the informal waste‐recycling sector.

Research limitations/implications

A very small sample size was selected for this study in the absence of any prior database pertaining to the size, socio‐economic conditions of the informal waste‐recycling sector.

Originality/value

The paper attempts to understand the important role played by the informal sector engaged in waste recycling. This work is original, as no such analysis has been carried out in the study area. This study could be further extended.

Keywords

Citation

Zia, H., Devadas, V. and Shukla, S. (2008), "Assessing informal waste recycling in Kanpur City, India", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 597-612. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777830810894265

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited