No waste management without taking the social dimension into account

Written by :
Charlotte Salaün
Published on :

In the countries of the South, too many people still live off waste. The implementation of a waste treatment and recovery project must include them in any strategic decision, otherwise it will not be accepted and will not be sustainable. 

This is a social reality: in the countries of the South, the poorest people most often live from informal waste sorting.

In Paris, in the 19th century, the introduction of dustbins, and their removal to the foot of buildings, gave rise to a very strong polemic. 

Indeed, taking the rubbish out of the buildings when the municipal collection lorries passed by condemned to starvation the thousands of "ragpickers" who made a living from collecting and reselling materials gleaned from the waste of Parisians.

In response to this problem, the bins are gradually being taken out into the street an hour before the lorries pass.

Even today, all over the world, but especially in the poorest countries, women, families and children survive around heaps of waste and rubbish dumps, when they do not live in them to be the first to recover valuable materials. 

Initiating an industrial waste recovery project therefore requires taking this reality into account. 

Many facilities, such as the state-of-the-art storage facility in Haiti, were destroyed when they were first put into operation by people who feared that their livelihoods would be lost. 

Waste recovery projects, especially in poor countries, must therefore include a dynamic social dimension with the possibility of integrating populations living on informal sorting.

Anviga is working on the establishment of alternative collections, which would include informal workers, by offering them either :

- To join together in a cooperative, training them in waste sorting and helping them financially to buy vans for collection. 

- To deposit sorted waste in voluntary drop-off areas in return for a fee 

In this way, the informal workers are brought together around a private structure that will take charge of the sorted waste with a view to recovery, are remunerated and are associated with a project that enhances their value, which keeps them away from landfills, which are harmful to the health of these workers. 

informal employment I training I employment I social I waste I landfill

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