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Week 1 of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Waste And Governance

Report is accessible here and the video recording here

Webinar Date ant Time: 7th July 2022 | 5.00 – 7.00 PM


For over two decades, ESG has focussed on the emerging urban environmental and socio-economic challenges and has been working with multiple communities, government agencies, academia, media, etc. The approach has always been about finding viable and inclusive solutions to vexatious problems advocating deeply democratic processes that draw on  intersectoral, interdisciplinary, intersectional experiences, knowledge and histories. Bangalore and other cities today are in a mess as they follow highly centralised governance approaches that drift from existing legal provisions in which the various local publics find no place to imagine their futures as part of a collective imagining of the city’s future.

ESG has through various interventions worked to imagine solutions despites the complexities of issues.  The following are a sample of its efforts:

Waste and Governance:

Working with Pourakarmikas in the late 1990s, and with landfill impacted communities from the early 2000s, it was realised that the problem of waste dumping on the streets or in landfills cannot be resolved merely as an urban management problem. There are deeper structural issues involved including wilful exploitation of the labour of the poor, and Dalits and minorities are typically victims of waste collection and waste dumping. Approaches to decentralising governance to local areas so that local communities take responsibility for the waste generated locally, which has been supported by judicial directives and later reform of India’s SWM rules, has stuttered to succeed as higher echelons of power have been insincere in ensuring necessary resources are available to make decentralised, scientific and legally correct methods work. As the problem compounds, and with COVID pandemic its nightmarish implications have become common experience, the utter lack of concern and sensitivity to the needs of those who handle and remove waste has become more stark while technocratic solutions are being promoted.  As cities expand with consumerism as a basis of its viability, the question arises about the future of such urbanisation beset with environmental and public health challenges. This when failures to acknowledge decentralisation and devolution of administrative, political and financial power is key to sustainability.

In highlighting these dimensions, ESG’s work in this sector will be employed as a backdrop inviting various partners and community representatives to reflect on ways forward.


Leo F. Saldanha, ESG

Bhargavi S. Rao, ESG


Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Maitreyi Krishnan, Manthan Law

Shibu Nair, GAIA

Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh Environmental Law Alliance


One thought on “Week 1 of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Waste And Governance

  • Walter Mendoza

    I am interested in these issues, and would like to join in


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