Waste Pickers and Collectors in Delhi: Poverty and Environment in an Urban Informal Sector ”

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In this paper, Waste pickers and collectors in Delhi, who constitute the bottom layer of waste recycling as well as an informal sector in the city, are primarily focused on. This paper explores two aspects of “waste pickers and collectors” with the authors’ field survey. One is socio-economic characteristic of pickers and collectors. As described later, socio-economic characteristics such as Origin, Level of living and the Way of operation are strikingly different between pickers and collectors. The paper investigates not only those characteristics themselves but also a background where the distinctions stemmed from. Later, the study attempts to measure their contribution on the society, which might characterize this paper from the previous studies. As stated before, the targets of this study are grouped in two. One is “waste pickers” and the other is “waste collectors”. Both groups share similar characteristics in a way they operate their business as they sell collected waste to higher level traders (i.e., Dealers or Wholesellers) and yield their profit. However, they are different in a critical point. Pickers need no capital for picking up their waste, whereas collectors buy their waste in cash from households or other waste producers so that collectors essentially need some capital for their business operation. The authors conducted three-round field surveys by means of a questionnaire covering pickers and collectors, waste producers and upper-level traders (including dealers, wholesalers and recycling plants), and supplemental survey, respectively. The number of observations is, as the authors admit, statistically small as summarized in Table 1. For example, number of respondents from both pickers and collectors is 35. The ... ... middle of paper ... ... the paper, the number of observations might be too small to derive more general conclusions. Expanding the observations by choosing them from not a single city, but multiple cities might be able to solve this problem partly and improve an accuracy of estimation on the aggregation. Second, an inequality among each sector seems to be neglected. Considering the socio-economic characteristics of each sector, there can be a significant difference in an inequality, from which some policy implication can be derived. Third, expanding same kind of study to multiple informal sectors can be helpful to draw a more comprehensive picture of nationwide informal sectors. Works Cited Hayami, Yujiro, A. K. Dikshit, and S. N. Mishra. "Waste pickers and collectors in Delhi: poverty and environment in an urban informal sector." The Journal of Development Studies 42.1 (2006): 41-69.

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