Pratham study: No waste management infrastructure in rural India

Representative image of waste dumped on a street; Picture Credit: Aafrin Kidwai

A new study released by Pratham confirms that most Indian villages do not have any waste management infrastructure.

Public waste bins were observed in only 36 percent of the 700 villages across 15 states that were covered in the study. Just 29 percent had a community waste collection vehicle, while less than half the villages had access to a sanitation worker or safai karamchari. These trends were observed across all states and districts.

Due to the lack of formal infrastructure, 90 percent of the villages primarily depended on informal waste collectors or kabadiwalas, the study titled Plastic STORI: Study of Rural India, said.

The kabadiwalas visited villages at least once a week. But they did not accept all kinds of waste and were very selective about it. Waste such as paper, metal, and cardboard was readily collected by them but single-use plastics such as wrappers, sachets, and plastic packaging were rejected, the study found.

Such single-use, low-quality plastics were contributing to the growing waste problem in rural India, Pratham said.

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