Further WWOSH Projects

Rapid Assessment of Waste Picker Health and Livelihood

Waste pickers make a livelihood by collecting recyclable waste from various places in low, middle and high income countries. This group of people constitutes the bottom layer of the waste recycling system and is considered one of the key stakeholders in the informal recycling sector in the solid waste management system. Generally, these people are poor, vulnerable to various kinds of occupational health risks/problems and diseases (e.g. flu, bronchitis, body injuries/pain, ulcers, high blood pressure) and are often marginalized. The proposed study will be conducted through participatory action research to assess the health risks and the livelihood status of waste pickers in Dhaka city in Bangladesh. The key aims are to provide some policy recommendations towards sustainable and inclusive solid waste management (UVic Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives – Faculty Research Grant).

Cite: Jutta Gutberlet. Rapid assessment of health and livelihood situations of waste pickers in Dhaka City, Bangladesh (2017-2018). Bangladesh.

Grassroots resilience tackling climate, environmental and poverty challenges

Millions of informal waste pickers collect household waste daily in cities around the globe to earn a living. In doing so, they make a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of cities, recovering resources, improving environmental conditions and health of low-income residents, creating jobs and income among the poor. This project aims at examining the challenges that innovative grassroots initiatives and networks encounter and the livelihood practices they generate, to improve recycling and household waste management in informal settlements of global South cities. The project’s methodology is inspired by participatory action research through a combination of a) a multiple case study on waste picker initiatives in Managua (Nicaragua), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and São Paulo (Brazil) and Kisumu (Kenya) based on interviews, observations, workshops and document analysis b) joint knowledge co-production with regional and global waste picker networks performing as knowledge hubs for the project c) an in-depth case study of the City of Kisumu, where the learnings from the multi-case studies will be integrated and d) international joint research and waste picker seminars to co-produce knowledge to conceptualize solution to the challenges. Theoretically, the project will also contribute to applying and expanding a combination of theories of socio-environmental and institutional entrepreneurship with resilience theories (SRC The Swedish Research Council Grant).

Cite: Jutta Gutberlet. Recycling Networks – Grassroots resilience tackling climate, environmental and poverty challenges (2017-2019). Tanzania, Argentina, Brazil and Kenya.

Mapping Waste Governance (2017-2022)

This partnership development project seeks to identify, examine and document grassroots social innovations and challenges in waste governance in different geographic regions. We will capture multiple narratives and use interdisciplinary approaches to formal and informal household waste management. We will focus on change and transition events — certain types of tipping points, because solid waste generation is reaching a tipping point and current prevailing forms of waste management are clearly not sufficiently taking care of the problem. Good waste governance requires the reconceptualization of waste as a resource and an inclusive approach to waste management, with different waste actors (waste pickers, small scale waste entrepreneurs) and innovative approaches having a voice. Good waste governance addresses poverty reduction, builds community resilience and increases environmental sustainability. Our overall goal is to map the factors, processes, actors and links that entail good waste governance, to understand possible barriers and challenges in household waste management, as well as the factors that generate innovative forms of waste management resilient. Global know-how production, exchange and upscaling in good waste governance and social grassroots innovations remain largely un-explored and our partnership is taking the lead in building this global network on waste governance (SSHRC Partnership Development Grant).

Cite: Jutta Gutberlet. Mapping waste governance (2017-2022). Canada.