An Informal Model of Waste Management Blossoms in Bangalore

Without the wealth for recycling, Indian cities like Bangalore rely on informal traders to collect and sell recyclable materials. Could this tech hub provide a model of trash disposal for cities in the developing and developed world alike?

"In India," says Poonam Kasturi, "we're famous for keeping our homes clean and our cities dirty." But the issue of waste management became a hot button issue in Bangalore this past August when city employees went on a strike and landfills shut down. "Even the wealthier corners of the city were faced with the unpleasant realities of moved rubbish," writes Mark Bergen, "And considerable public health concerns, particularly of the spread of dengue fever, persisted after the workers returned."

Indian cities do not generally have the funds available for recycling programs, but informal traders "process around a third of the 3,500 tons of waste generated in the city per day." After the strike, Bangaloreans turned to these informal recyclers for information on how to better manage and compost their trash. "Informal recycling is a huge plus," says Sandya Narayanan, "which we don't have anywhere else in the world." She believes that this model could possibly serve as an example for other emerging nations.

"As it is now," states Bergen, "the city's model is far from ideal." The informal traders work at their own risk with few safety and environmental regulations. "Yet the movement to educate on safety and segregation and limit the waste shipped to the city's landfills is gaining speed."

Full Story: The Developing World's Most Innovative City for Trash Management Is ... Bangalore?

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
$105
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95