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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Al-Khateeb, A. J., Al-Sari, M. I., Al-Khatib, I. A., & Anayah, F. (2017). Factors affecting the sustainability of solid waste management system—the case of Palestine. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189(2), 93–104.
Almeida, M., F, G., Figueiredo, P. S., & Dantas, J. (2017). The socio-economic conditions of waste pickers in Bahia, and an evaluation of a workforce restructuring: a multiple case study. Revista de Gestão Social e Ambiental – RGSA, 11(1), 2–20.
Al-Rujoub, R., Al-Khatib, I. A., Al-Shami, N., & Salahat, J. I. (2019). Occupational safety and health practices among farmers in Wadi Al Fara’ area, Palestine. Palestinian Journal of Technology & Applied Sciences, 2, 49–60.
Al-Sari, M. I., Al-Khatib, I., Avraamides, M., & Fatta-Kassinos, D. (2012). A study on the attitudes and behavioural influence of construction waste management in occupied Palestinian territory. Waste Management and Research, 30(2), 122–136.
Al-Sari, M. I., Sarhan, M. A. A, & Al-Khatib, I. A. (2018). Assessment of compost quality and usage for agricultural use: a case study of Hebron, Palestine. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190–223.
Andrianisa, H. A., Brou, Y. O. K., & Séhibi, A. (2016). Role and importance of informal collectors in the municipal waste pre-collection system in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Habitat International, 53, 265–273.
Aparcana, S. (2017). Approaches to formalization of the informal waste sector into municipal solid waste management systems in low- and middle-income countries: Review of barriers and success factors. Waste Management, 61, 593–607.
Asim, M., Batool, S., & Chaudhry, M. (2012). Scavengers and their role in the recycling of waste in South Western Lahore. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 58, 152–162.
Aydin, N. (2017). Review of municipal solid waste management in Turkey with a particular focus on recycling of plastics. Energy, 113, 111–115.
Begum, R. A., Siwar, C., Pereira, J. J., & Jaafar, A. (2006). A logistic regression analysis of the contractor’s awareness regarding waste management. Journal of Applied Sciences, 6(9), 1904–1908.
Begum, R. A., Siwar, C., Pereira, J. J., & Jaafar, A. (2009). Attitudes and behavioral factors in waste management in the construction industry of Malaysia. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 53, 321–328.
Bewick, V., Cheek, L., & Ball, J. (2005). Statistics review 14: logistic regression. Critical Care, 9(1), 112–118.
Blaauw, P.F. (2010). The socio-economic aspects of day laboring in South Africa. Unpublished DCom thesis. Department of Economics and Econometrics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bonner, C. (2008). Waste pickers without frontiers: first international and third Latin American conference of waste-pickers. <http://www.wiego.org/sites/reports/files/WIEGO-WastePickers-Conf-Report-2008.pdf> (accessed 12/8/2019).
Botello-Álvarez, J. E., Rivas-García, P., Fausto-Castro, L., Estrada-Baltazar, A., & Gomez-Gonzalez, R. (2018). Reality Journal, 182, 485–495.
Chvatal, J. (2010). A study of waste management policy implications for landfill waste salvagers in the Western Cape. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of Cape Town.
Eco Con Serv Environmental Solutions and Universal Group – Gaza (2013).Gaza solid waste management project, Abbreviated resettlement action plan for El-Fukhary landfill.
El-Hawi, M., & Aljaja, M.G.T. (2017). Recycling and scavenging of solid waste items during Israeli sanction as surviving strategy for poor Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Proceedings of 83rd IASTEM International Conference, San Francisco, USA, 20th-21st October 2017.
Ezeah, C., Fazakerley, J. A., & Roberts, C. L. (2013). Emerging trends in informal sector recycling in developing and transition countries. Waste Management, 33(11), 2509–2519.
Fei, F., Qu, L., Wen, Z., Xue, Y., & Zhang, H. (2016). How to integrate the informal recycling system into municipal solid waste management in developing countries: based on a China’s case in Suzhou urban area. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 110, 74–86.
German International Cooperation – GIZ. (2014). Country report on the solid waste management in occupied Palestinian territories. Palestine: Ramallah.
Gunsilius, E., Chaturvedi, B., & Scheinberg, A. (2011). The economics of the informal sector in solid waste management. GIZ – the deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH. https://www.giz.de/en/downloads/giz2011-cwg-booklet-economicaspects.pdf. Accessed on 23/4/2020.
Gutberlet, J. (2013). Briefing: social facets of solid waste: insights from the global south. Waste and Resource Management, 166(WR3), 110–113.
Gutberlet, J., Tremblay, C., Taylor, E., & Divakarannair, N. (2009). Who are our IRs? An inquiry to uncover crisis and potential in Victoria, Canada. Local Environment, 14(8), 733–747.
Hartmann, C. (2018). Waste picker livelihoods and inclusive neoliberal municipal solid waste management policies: the case of the La Chureca garbage dump site in Managua, Nicaragua. Waste Management, 71, 565–577.
Kashyap, P., & Visvanathan, C. (2014). Formalization of informal recycling in low-income countries. Municipal. Book, ISBN: 978-981-4451-72-7, Publisher: Springer Singapore, pp 41-60, DOI: 10.1007/978-981-4451-73-4_3.
Kollikkathara, N., Feng, H., & Stern, E. (2009). A purview of waste management evolution: special emphasis on USA. Waste Management, 29, 974–985.
Mater, S. (2019). Municipal development and lending fund (MDLF). Gaza: Interview.
Medina, M. (2000). Scavenger cooperatives in Asia and Latin America. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 31, 51–69.
Medina, M. (2001). Scavenging in America: back to the future? Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 31, 229–240.
Medina, M. (2008). The informal recycling sector in developing countries: organizing waste pickers to enhance their impact. Grid Lines.http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/44informal_recycling_sectors.pdf (accessed 12/08/2019).
Moreno-Sánchez, R. D. P., & Maldonado, J. H. (2006). Surviving from garbage: the role of informal waste-pickers in a dynamic model of solid-waste management in developing countries. Environment and Development Economics, 371–391. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355770X06002853.
OCHA (United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) (2018). 53 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty, despite humanitarian assistance. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/53-cent-palestinians-gaza-live-poverty-despite-humanitarian-assistance (accessed 18/7/2019).
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) (2017). Main findings of living standards in Palestine (Expenditure, Consumption and Poverty). Ramallah, Palestine.
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) (2019). Estimated population in Palestine mid-year by governorate, 1997–2021. Ramallah, Palestine.
Ramos, N. F., Castilhos Jr., A. B. D., Forcellini, F. A., & Graciolli, O. D. (2013). Profile survey of waste pickers in Brazil: requirements for the development of a collection vehicle and optimized routing. Journal of Urban and Environmental Engineering, 7(2), 231–246.
Rouse, J., Ali, M. (2001). Waste pickers in Dhaka: using the sustainable livelihoods approach- key findings and field notes. WEDC, Loughborough University, UK.
Sasaki, S., & Araki, T. (2013). Employer-employee and buyer-seller relationships among waste pickers at final disposal site in informal recycling: the case of Bantar Gebang in Indonesia. Habitat International, 40, 51–57.
Schenck, R., Blaauw, P., & F. (2011). The work and lives of street waste pickers in Pretoria—a case study of recycling in South Africa’s urban informal economy. Urban Forum, 22, 411–430.
Schluep, M., (2014). In: Worrell, E., Reuter, M.A. (Eds.), informal waste recycling developing countries, 1st Ed. Elsevier, pp. 439–444 ISBN: 9780123964595.
Serrona, K.R., Yu, J., & Che, J. (2010). Managing wastes in Asia: looking at the perspectives of China, Mongolia and the Philippines. In: Kumar, S. (Ed.), Waste Management. INTECH Publishing.
Steuer, B. (2016). What institutional dynamics guide WEEE refurbishment and reuse in urban China? Recycling, 1(2), 286–310.
Steuer, B., Ramusch, R., & Salhofer, S. P (Editors) (2018). Can Beijing’s informal waste recycling sector survive amidst worsening circumstances? Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 128, 59–68.
The Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management for Hebron and Bethlehem Governorates (JSC-H&B) (2015). http://hjsc-swm.com/articles/hjsc-news/waste-pickers-are-utilizing-biogas-from-yatta-dumpsite-for-daily-needs/.Accessed 10/8/2019.
The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy – UNTFSSE (2019). Waste picker social economy organizations addressing the sustainable development goals. UNTFSSE International Conference in Geneva.
Uddin, S. M. N., & Gutberlet, J. (2018). Livelihoods and health status of informal recyclers in Mongolia. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 134, 1–9.
United Nations Development Program - UNDP. (2012). Feasibility study and detailed design for solid waste management in the Gaza strip. Palestine: Gaza.
United Nations Environmental Program - UNEP (2010). Waste and climate change: global trends and strategy framework. Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, International Environmental Technology Centre Osaka/Shiga. http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/8648/Waste%26ClimateChange.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y. Accessed 23/4/2020.
Vaccari, M., Torretta, V., & Collivignarelli, C. (2012). Effect of improving environmental sustainability in developing countries by upgrading solid waste management techniques: a case study. Sustainability, 4, 2852–2861.
Vaccari, M., Di Bella, V., Vitali, F., & Collivignarelli, C. (2013). From mixed to separate collection of solid waste: benefits for the town of Zavidovići (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Waste Management, 33(2), 277–286.
Vidiani.com (2011) Gaza Strip small map. http://www.vidiani.com/small-map-of-gaza-strip/. Accessed 17/8/2019.
Wadi Al-Shaer Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management - WS-SWM (2009).Environmental management project – TF 053262, Resettlement action plan for the Anabta dumpsite waste pickers.
Wilson, E. J., McDougall, F. R., & Willmore, J. (2001). Euro-trash: searching Europe for a more sustainable approach to waste management. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 31, 327–346.
Wilson, D., Velis, C., & Cheeseman, C. (2006). Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries. Habitat International, 30, 797–808.
Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing - WIEGO (2016). Informal economy monitoring study sector report: waste pickers.
Zia, H., Devadas, V., & Shukla, S. (2008). Assessing informal waste recycling in Kanpur City, India. Management of Environmental Quality, 19, 597–612.
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.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-08341-y
- Waste pickers
- Waste management