Informal recycling and resource recovery at a municipal open dumpsite : a case study of Hulene dumpsite.
Domingos, Leonor Joaquim.
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Poverty in its many guises - poor housing, no employment, indifferent health and hunger is a driving force for scavenging. In most developing countries, the informal recovery of material from waste is a common survival strategy for the poor. In fact, up to 2% of populations in developing countries depend on recovering, re-using and selling waste materials from streets, dumpsite or landfills for their livelihood. The aim of this study was to develop an understanding of the socio-economic conditions affecting the scavengers and scavenging activities at the Hulene dumpsite in Maputo. This study set out to develop a conceptual framework depicting scavenging, its problems and opportunities. This was used to structure the research. The main issues addressed were: • The driving forces of scavenging where poverty is the major factor. • The organization of scavengers and scavenging activities showing that there is no formal organization of scavengers, which leads to exploitation of vulnerable groups. • The reaction from the national and local authorities, with the prevalence of a repressive policy and absence of support. • The gender dimension on scavenging activities; and • The perception of health risks. The findings are that scavenging constitutes a means of livelihood for poor people. These activities respond to the market demand and not to environmental considerations. However, in performing scavenging activities which results in informal recycling and resources recovery, people generate environmental benefits, economic benefits and social benefits. Other findings are that the informal organization of scavengers increases the exploitation and the health risk of scavengers. Thus, organization is a key to the success of scavengers and indirectly to the municipal economy. It is concluded that the framework set out in this thesis is useful in the sense that it illustrates the factors which influence scavenging activities. This framework can be used for further research in similar situations. It is also concluded that prohibition of scavenging activities would have undesirable consequences for the economy of Maputo in particular and of Mozambique in general. Thus, since this activity brings benefits to scavengers and to society, the government should support and stimulate this activity and not persecute those who provide this service. Consequently, as a recommendation, government, local communities and NGOs are called upon to support scavengers. The formation of scavenger co-operatives can promote sustainable grassroots development in this sector of the population.
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