Reduced waste and improved livelihoods for all: Lessons on waste management from Ahmedabad, India

Better waste management is essential to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Waste is already responsible for up to five percent of global greenhouse emissions and waste production from cities is set to almost double by 2020. Cutting waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse is the fifth target of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 12. Conventional approaches to solid waste management have often proven unaffordable and ineffective. This paper analyses the lessons from Ahmedabad, India. It finds that clear national leadership that supports municipal authorities to integrate unionised informal waste pickers into formal municipal waste management can deliver competitive recycling rates at lower costs, whilst also improving the income, health, job security and inclusion of marginalised groups, reducing urban poverty and enhancing climate resilience.