Marijk Huysman bases her lecture on the importance of accessible and effective urban waste collection services for public health, environmental conditions, productivity and aesthetics of cities. Yet evidence shows that waste services are often failing poor people. She argues that long before the concept of green growth was embraced as an urban development trend, informal waste workers have made a significant economic and environmental contribution to urban centers and also provides a source of income for millions of people worldwide.
Marijk Huysman is a senior academic staff at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), an international educational institute under the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Within the IHS she coordinates the Urban Environmental Management Department.
She is an urban sociologist specialized in integrated solid waste management and environmental planning and management who has been engaged in EPM and in the world of waste for over 25 years. Starting in the 1980’s with a research on waste picker communities in the city of Bangalore (India) and the coordination of a research project on linkages between formal and informal SWM systems in three Indian cities, she has been intensively involved in research and advisory work related to pro-poor waste management approaches.
In her position as university lecturer and trainer, she has been teaching and supervising practitioners and MSc students from all over the world on sustainable and inclusive SWM. Marijk has educational and consultancy experience in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin-America.
Marijk Huysman bases her lecture on the importance of accessible and effective urban waste collection services for public health, environmental conditions, productivity and aesthetics of cities. Yet evidence shows that waste services are often failing poor people. She argues that long before the concept of green growth was embraced as an urban development trend, informal waste workers have made a significant economic and environmental contribution to urban centers and also provides a source of income for millions of people worldwide.Despite this fact, local governments insufficiently recognize, ignore or even oppose the work and livelihood of waste workers. Informal waste workers are increasingly being pushed aside by privatisation of solid waste systems and by waste treatment methods such as incineration and waste-to-energy technologies. Huysman concludes by posing the question how to create SWM systems that benefit the urban poor – both as service users and as service providers?
Huysman argues that failures of waste services and shortcomings in waste management approaches vis-à-vis the urban poor are the result of a lack of accountability of public and private organisations to the needs and demands of poor people. When considering for instance privatization of waste services, there is a wider range of options available than engaging commercial-oriented, large-scale and often internationally affiliated firms. By reviewing a number of strategic approaches and practices, the lecture looks into ways to arrive at pro-poor and inclusive SWM systems.
Propositions for addressing the issue:
Lack of accountability by urban authorities to the needs and demands of urban poor citizens. Urban SWM approaches and practices should be shaped by clearly defined output goals, indicators and assessment methods for inclusive and pro-poor orientation.
Inclusive waste service provision requires direct involvement of poor service users or their representatives in the creating of access to waste services; matching services with the local conditions and affordability of the poor; creating win-wins; redefining privatisation by broadening the range of service providers; creating opportunities for social privatization and community-based service provision.
Need for recognition of informal waste work and the support of decent job creation requires legal endorsement of practices; facilitation and integration into existing SWM systems; supporting programs to improve professional skills, work efficiency and livelihood.
UNESCAP websites on the Pro poor and Sustainable Solid Waste Management Program and on the Integrated Resource Recovery Centres in different Asian cities - Waste2Resource.