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MURP Alum Katrina Mitchell hosting conversation on the Third Annual Informal Waste Sector Conference

November 9, 12-1:30, HHH 188

On September 21-22 the Cason Family Foundation hosted the Third Annual Informal Waste Sector Conference "The Informal Waste Sector: Ways Forward in the Context of Waste Management and Globalization." Approximately 75 people attended from across the spectrum of those interested in waste issues -- private sector waste-to-energy and finance companies, NGOs working with waste pickers and cooperatives, human rights advocates, development banks, waste management consultants and waste advocacy groups.

There are approximately 20 million people worldwide in the informal sector (some estimates are even higher -- 64 million). These people play a vital role in diverting valuable resources, such as recyclable materials and quality organics, from becoming waste that is landfilled or incinerated. In our current state of rapid urbanization, the informal sector is often the only waste management in slums and new urban areas. We need to work with the informal sector to create solutions to meet the sanitation needs of the 3.5 billion people worldwide who lack even simple collection of their waste. Efforts must be put in place to ensure that waste pickers are recognized for their role in helping cities meet public health and resource recovery goals.

The conference covered three big topics, mostly in panel discussions and interactive dialogs with the participants:
the inclusion of the informal waste sector
big data and mobile governance
megacities and urbanization

We discussed what is done now to include the informal recyclers within solid waste and resource recovery supply and value chains, we brainstormed ideas for how to use big data, particularly mapping, to move forward, and touched on some of the realities facing the waste sector with growth of megacities and urbanization.

Humphrey alumni Katrina Mitchell (MURP 2009) attended the conference and will be facilitating a conversation on take aways and ways forward. All are welcome.

Topics: informal economy, waste and resource recovery, rapid urbanization and megacities, using big data and mapping for advocacy, waste management as a human right, waste systems design and governance.

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