Challenges in ‘Community Organisation’ of Scrap Pickers for Swachh Bharat: Reflections from Ahmedabad

  • R. S. SannabhadtiEmail author


‘Community Participation’ in solid waste management is a desired outcome advocated by Government of India through the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. However, the SWM rules, 2016 as well as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) guidelines conceptualise, only the ‘generators of waste’ (mostly domestic waste) as a ‘community’ in order to carry out advocacy for better primary collection and recycling practices. A large part of waste collection and recycling in India happens in the informal sector and there are variations in the waste picking households. Thus, the nuances of these households and their operational conditions need to understand as a ‘heterogenous community’ for their effective community organisation. The lack of such conceptualisation results in ignoring the possibility of waste picking as a livelihood mode that can be a vehicle for ‘community development’ of this informal livelihood group. This paper tries to identify the challenges and fissures in this simplistic techno-managerial conceptualisation of the waste pickers as homogenous individuals who could be registered and readily organised into groups to integrate into current practices of municipal solid waste management.


Community organisation Community development Civil society Waste pickers Scrap pickers Scrap collectors Swachh Bharat Mission Municipal solid waste management 



All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional research committee and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in the study. Authors appreciate the organisation for generous support towards the successful completion of the study.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEPT UniversityAhmedabadIndia

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