Failing the grade: how cities across India are breaking the rules, ignoring the informal recycling sector and unable to make the grade

Indian policies and rules, while not perfect, have some important safeguards and recognition for informal sector recyclers, particularly wastepickers. However, municipalities, urban policy makers, and private companies ignore them while conducting business in solid waste management. In so doing, they bypass the environment and the poor. They disrupt a chain that so importantly contributes to reducing greenhouse gases in our increasingly consumptive cities and towns. They in fact, impose climate in-justice. They are additionally not implementing the laws of the land. In this context, most formal players, both state actors and non-state actors, fail the grade. Even some of the best municipalities set up excellent inclusion projects in one part but are unable to extend such inclusion elsewhere. For these reasons, no single city has fully and comprehensively implemented all the rules and followed the spirit of the policies laid out for wastepickers and other informal sector actors in India.