Michael Simpson, Director of the Resource Management and Conservation (RMC) Program at Antioch New England Graduate School, and his colleague Anne Scheinberg, from The Hague in the Netherlands, were just awarded a grant by GTZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (The German Ministry for Economic Development) to conduct research on the challenges and economic impacts of integrating the informal sector activity (urban and dump scavengers) with the formal municipal efforts to manage waste in rapidly expanding cities within the southern hemisphere. This study builds on previous work Michael Simpson has done with informal sector micro-enterprise development in such countries as Indonesia, India, South Africa, and Bulgaria.
This multi-country study will collect baseline data from cities such as Lima, Peru; Cairo, Egypt; and Pune, India from which projected economic impacts will be modeled to determine the value provided by the scavenger community, both to the solid waste system and to the local economy as a whole. Scenario analyses will be constructed to also project what the cost would be if the informal sector waste handling activities ceased and the formal sector expanded their efforts to provide a similar service. This would be compared to the costs of developing and implementing a more integrated approach to waste management, which would utilize the scavenger network while increasing the scavenger’s standard of living and quality of life.
This study will provide an opportunity for RMC students to gain experience in Resource Management issues associated with the urban and peri-urban infrastructure, development, and health facing 3rd world economies.