Indian cities generated 62 million tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) annually and it is projected that by 2031 they will generate 165 million tons of waste annually (Planning Commission Report, 2014). The task of managing these mammoth quantities of waste rests solely with the Municipalities. Municipalities, however, lack the capability to sustainably manage such large amounts of waste.
The failure of Municipalities in managing the cities' solid waste in a sustainable manner can, in large part, be owed to the failed model of waste management, which entrusts all responsibility of collection, transportation and disposal entirely upon the Municipality. In India, the Municipal Solid Waste (Collection and Handling) Rules, 2000, have guided MSW Management.
This study aims to explore the possibility of an alternative perception of waste governance, which places the waste generator as the central agent in charge of managing his or her own waste, while the state, the municipality, civil society, waste pickers, landfill operators, etc. either play a regulatory, monitoring or a facilitative role only.
The broad aim of this research is to explore the possibility of locating the citizen (waste generator), as the focal actor in the waste management system with the agency to recycle his or her own waste and seek the support of others (including the state) as and when required. The study will, therefore, seek to understand citizens' willingness to adopt and pay for waste recycling using household surveys to assess knowledge and understanding of waste management systems and the implications of current practices and the level of satisfaction with existing processes. This will be complemented by qualitative research to explore the barriers to the adoption of household-level waste recycling and the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders.
This research aims to explore a new paradigm of waste management whereby citizens (waste producers) share the responsibility for managing their own waste. It seeks to bring about a paradigm shift in the way academicians and policymakers have traditionally viewed waste management.