Survival in the margins

NAI hosts a workshop on 21 August in Abuja on Informal solid waste management in Nigeria

Informal solid waste management is a vital survival strategy in many African cities. Thousands of urban dwellers make a living from the recovery, sorting and sale of recyclable materials.
− The rise of informal solid waste management is largely attributed to the negative effects of the Structural Adjustment Programme imposed on African countries in the 1980s. The subsequent collapse of African economies and urban services meant that the poor were largely left to devise their own strategies for survival, says NAI researcher Onyanta Adama.

Beyond the poverty reduction perspective, the informal waste sector is important ‘gap filler’ due to the limited capacity of the formal system. In addition, while those who engage in informal solid waste management do so for economic reasons, they are responsible for recovering huge quantities of waste and thus reducing the amount that goes for final disposal. This translates into savings for the government and of course has positive implications for environmental sustainability.
− However, there are huge challenges. A major issue that needs to be addressed by the state is how to regulate the informal waste sector without jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of urban dweller, says Onyanta Adama.

All the workshop details can be found here (pdf opens in new window).

Download the Policy Note 'Privatising services as if people matter: Solid waste management in Abuja, Nigeria' by Onyanta Adama (opens in new window).

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