Waste Management in a Developing City: Capitalizing on Current Difficulties in Lima?

Changes in Urban Services: Managing Waste in the Global South
By Mathieu Durand

Studying waste management in Lima allows us to highlight different systems common to other cities in the South. Each of these systems has its own logic, while at the same time they are highly intertwined. This paper proposes a modeling (or, in other words, a simplification) of these systems, and seeks to highlight the main features of a very complex reality. We observe three systems which respond to both geographical and historical logics : ‘self-management’, ‘public management’ and ‘shared management’. These three types overlap to form a ‘composite system’ through which waste is managed in the Peruvian capital.
Inspired by the example of waste management in countries of the North, most public policies in cities of the South look to upgrade the technical management of their waste. The hypothesis of this paper is, however, that this strategy produces major inequalities in these cities in terms of quality of service, since the cities do not have the means to ensure quality of service across the whole of their territories. In contrast, some small-scale experiences seek to capitalise on the current situation, in order to better take into account directly the different dimensions of sustainable development, all the while benefiting from the advantages of the practices of certain groups such as the recyclers. This proactive adaptation must, nevertheless, juggle the different vulnerabilities of populations, while seeking to mitigate these vulnerabilities in a progressive way.

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