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Scavengers’ contribution in solid waste management sector in Gaza Strip, Palestine


This study deals with the assessment of the role and potential contribution of—valuable and recyclable items—waste pickers (scavengers) in the overall recycling sector of solid waste management in Gaza Strip, Palestine. The analytical descriptive approach was applied in this study to achieve this goal. A special questionnaire was designed to record the views and activities of a statistically representative sample of scavengers, to determine their socio-economic conditions, their job satisfaction level, and their role in waste management. Together with that, the legal issues arising from their activity are investigated and conducted interviews with stakeholders/officials highly contributed to this. The results showed that the scavengers are mostly men, working informally for themselves, and do not belong to any official body or informal local association, yet their contribution was calculated to be 1–7.7% as far as the recyclable diversion rate is considered. According to the processed data, 34.1% of them are collecting from community bins distributed along the streets and from random dumpsites, 15.1% are collecting from random dumps only, and 12.7% are collecting from community bins distributed along the streets in addition to the random dumps and transfer stations. The monetary outcome is less than NIS 500 (New Israeli Shekels—NIS) monthly for approximately 72% of them. Taken into consideration that 91% of them are originating from a bad economic status, the aforementioned income—however low—is considered important for their live-hood. The results also showed that 93% of them are dissatisfied with their job due to mainly the district of residence, the negative attitude receipt by community members, and the low selling price of recyclable materials. The analysis is a stepping stone for scavengers’ incorporation to the official waste management sector, providing them orientation and on-the-job training, in addition to the government support through tax incentives to the private sector which is highly recommended in developing countries. Such activities will certainly lead further development of the recycling sector, a wide range of circular economy pattern application locally, and elevation of their financial/life status.

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The authors are thankful and acknowledge the key Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip for the insight into scavengers activity provide during the personal interviews conduction in the frame of the research (2019): Abu Al-Qunboz, A. (executive manager of the Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management for Gaza and North Gaza governorates); Al-Bursh, W. (manager of the Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management – North Gaza branch); Mater, S. (Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF)).


This study is funded by the research committee and academic affairs at Birzeit University, Palestine.

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Correspondence to Issam A. Al-Khatib.

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Al-Khatib, I.A., Al-Sari’, M.I. & Kontogianni, S. Scavengers’ contribution in solid waste management sector in Gaza Strip, Palestine. Environ Monit Assess 192, 354 (2020).

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  • Waste pickers
  • Scavengers
  • Recyclables
  • Waste management