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Barré, Juliette, 2014. Waste market in urban Malawi : a way out of poverty?. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



In 2012, world global production of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) was estimated at about 1.3 billion tons per year and is predicted to grow to 2.2 billion tons per year by 2025. Massive and fast accumulation of waste is difficult to handle especially in urban areas where space is scarce. Accumulation of waste results the development of harmful toxins, bacteria, and odors. Moreover, it can lead to soil and ground water contamination. These challenges are spread in Malawi where the field study took place. More precisely, the research was done in two cities; Lilongwe (the capital) and Blantyre (the commercial city). The overall aims of this paper are (i) to explore urban waste management strategies and market in Malawi (ii) to determine the actors and their role in urban waste market (iii) to understand the economic and social benefits of urban waste management. The study was conducted for two months. Thirteen interviews with different stakeholders in the waste management business were carried out. Three urban waste marketing activities were identified in the study areas namely; trade of compost produced from organic wastes , trade of plastic waste for industry and residential waste collect by small local companies. The compost market has a huge potential for development due to the large quantity of organic waste produced, minimum competition for organic wastes and the simplicity of the process (no need for high technology to compost waste). The existing waste activities generate job opportunities and improve the livelihood of urban dwellings. Both women and men are equally represented in the business; however, they do not work together and often don’t have the same tasks. For example women are cleaning the plastic waste while men are in charge of the collect and the process. However, the willingness of the government to promote private initiative regarding to waste management and marketing is very poor. All of the respondents identified lack of support from public authorities and regulations as a main challenge for waste management and marketing. Moreover, fuel price, lack of training and market visibility were the common impediments for the stakeholders
Other results are found and are discussed all along the thesis. However these results must be carefully handled as the sample chose for the study is very small (13 interviews). Additionally, the respondents provided data that couldn’t be verified since it could be a personal choice by the respondents to overestimate their success or their issues, so there might be a bias towards quantitative as well as qualitative data. Finally, this study is a call for more research on the subject as waste trading seemed to have a great potential to answer poverty issue in urban Malawi. Therefore, there is a need for more specific research on the link between poverty alleviation and the mechanisms of the market especially in SSA countries.

Main title:Waste market in urban Malawi
Subtitle:a way out of poverty?
Authors:Barré, Juliette
Supervisor:Chiwona Karltun, Linley
Examiner:Otto, Opira and Salomonsson, Lennart
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM025 EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:waste, development, poverty, Malawi, recycling, market
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural economics and policies
Processing of agricultural wastes
Deposited On:08 Jan 2015 10:39
Metadata Last Modified:08 Jan 2015 10:39

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