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Waste management in Madras revisited

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by P.B. Anand
Source : Environment and Urbanization, Volume : 11 Number : 2 Page : 161 - 176

This paper examines how households in Madras (official name - Chennai) view garbage problems, what their preferences are for improved services and the extent to which they would pay for them. It includes a comparison between areas served and not served by Civic Exnora units where neighbourhoods organize their own primary collection ; such units now provide services for close to half a million people. The findings are drawn from focus group discussions, household interviews from across a range of income levels and spatial locations (within Madras City, within the nine towns around the city and other settlements within the metropolitan area) and in-depth interviews with those who manage the Civic Exnora units. The findings highlight how people are willing to cooperate and pay substantial sums for waste collection - but not for other waste management costs (such as transport and final disposal). They also show how the financial viability of neighbourhood collection schemes such as the Civic Exnora units depends on having transfer stations close by, to which the collected wastes can be taken.