Understanding the dynamics of the informal waste sector

To ensure sustainable and inclusive SWM in the city, it is essential to include the Informal Waste Sector in the conception of the challenges at hand as well as in deliberative processes. It is crucial that increased advocacy and analytical attention be paid to waste-picking and informal waste economies in Chennai. Our objective is to achieve greater inclusion and leveraging of informal waste sector in Chennai through advocacy and research.

Recycling and resource recovery are predictably at the heart of the reform agenda and currently done only by the Informal Waste Sector. The role and contributions of waste-pickers (the backbone of the informal waste sector) in particular have been largely ignored by the mainstream and by policy-makers. Consequently, their inclusion in purportedly public forums is sadly not assured.  This is compounded by the absence of research and data documenting and quantifying the activities of the informal sector.