For lot of cities in expansion in the world, rubbish is a real problem. Each day the 50% of the world population who live in town make tones and tones of scraps that aren’t often treated. And lot of people live in this filth, particularly in shantytowns in developing countries. The rubbish is found everywhere and threaten the health of the city. Indeed the insalubrity of some cities and shantytowns are so important that they are really dangerous for the local population who suffering from tuberculosis, diarrhea, bronchitis, etc. Also these hard conditions of life pull in the same time violence and drugs too. This situation is not favorable to a good development and the local population is unfortunately condemned to the poverty and haven’t lot of chance to go out of that.
A micro-economy was then created. At the world level hundreds of thousand persons live of salvage of wastes. And it’s a gainful activity who permit to live with an income higher than the average in the majority in towns of the developing countries. But this is in majority an informal work who touch children and women who risk their life to survive. Moreover child work is often considered as normal in developing cities where the level of education is low.But if rubbish invade regularly streets of cities, there exists various types of management of waste, informal or not. Public services are the first responsible of this administration: it collect a part of the waste in a organized way and get busy of the final treatment (cremation…). The other part is found in streets, canals and discharges and recovers by waste pickers who recycle or resell it after transformation. This subterranean economy participates actively in the recycling of waste and in the neatness of the cit, but isn’t often recognized by the authorities.Some structures look for solutions of this situation, like the International Organization of Work who try to generate incomes and employment by creation of micro-companies and cooperatives, development of the possibilities of micro-credit and diversification of the employments (sweeping of streets, gardening). In a same time it would like to develop links with the public sector to integrate the salvage dealers into the management of waste, and build up a partnerships with the private sector to avoid the intermediaries.
An other organization, Wastes considers all the actors involved in waste management activities in a city. The informal sector and especially waste pickers or “scavengers” are a group that is very active in waste management but is rarely officially recognized as contributing to that system. Their activities vary from providing informal street sweeping and/or household waste collection services, to recovering recyclable materials from different points in the waste trajectory from households to the final disposal site. Acknowledging the work of this group when planning and implementing waste management improvements is desirable. This group’s experience can assist in solving waste problems and by incorporating the group in the waste management system it is possible to help them increase their income generating possibilities and improve their working conditions.
Collectors of waste in a shanty town from Jakarta in Indonesia.