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"Raising our voice, claiming our space" : in pursuit of a sustainable solid waste management system in Quito, Ecuador

Granizo Murgueytio, Fernando LU (2017) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20171
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Ecuador, in its endeavor to overcome the sustainability issues caused by the lack of adequate solid waste management (SWM), introduced an ambitious governance model seeking to stop environmental degradation and include waste recyclers into the system. In Quito, Ecuador´s capital, population growth, lack of waste separation at source, and space constraints for the final disposal of municipal solid waste urge the city to find a sustainable SWM system. To address these problems, the municipality introduced a master plan until 2025 that recognizes waste recyclers and its labor as a key element in the system, however, several shortcomings have been identified in the process. Therefore, the momentum that waste recyclers are experiencing made me... (More)
Ecuador, in its endeavor to overcome the sustainability issues caused by the lack of adequate solid waste management (SWM), introduced an ambitious governance model seeking to stop environmental degradation and include waste recyclers into the system. In Quito, Ecuador´s capital, population growth, lack of waste separation at source, and space constraints for the final disposal of municipal solid waste urge the city to find a sustainable SWM system. To address these problems, the municipality introduced a master plan until 2025 that recognizes waste recyclers and its labor as a key element in the system, however, several shortcomings have been identified in the process. Therefore, the momentum that waste recyclers are experiencing made me question. To what extent can the inclusion of waste recyclers into the system drive Quito towards a sustainable SWM system? Following an inductive approach, I chose Complex Systems Theory in order to characterize and understand the interlinkages of the current system. Subsequently, I applied Transition Management as part of a governance framework to investigate to what extent waste recyclers can drive Quito towards a sustainable SWM system. Drawing on 13 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders ranging from authorities to volunteers and a focus group interview with the members of a waste recyclers association, my findings indicate that there are three leverage points where the system can be intervened which are. 1) Education and capacity-building directed to the stakeholders within the system. This will increase the waste recyclers´ capabilities as well as strengthen the governance structures of SWM. 2) Recognition of fairer prices of recyclable material, resulting in higher incomes and thus, better quality of life for waste recyclers and 3) Achievement of greater rates of waste separation at household since this is the main driver of a non-efficient SWM system. Waste recyclers are a key element in the accomplishment of the latter as their work can create a bond between them and the civil society, and thus, raise awareness about the relevance of reducing waste generation, as well as educating about the importance for the environment and their livelihoods of separating waste at source. Therefore, my results point out that indeed waste recyclers can be considered as a seed of change capable of driving Quito towards a sustainable SWM. However, to achieve this, major investments in capacity-building, infrastructure, technology, and social welfare are needed. Finally, acknowledgment of context-specific limitations is crucial when it comes to scalability. (Less)
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author
Granizo Murgueytio, Fernando LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
associativity, sustainability science, inclusive solid waste management, seeds of change, waste separation at source
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2017:006
language
English
id
8911687
date added to LUP
2017-06-22 14:07:34
date last changed
2017-06-22 14:07:34
@misc{8911687,
  abstract     = {Ecuador, in its endeavor to overcome the sustainability issues caused by the lack of adequate solid waste management (SWM), introduced an ambitious governance model seeking to stop environmental degradation and include waste recyclers into the system. In Quito, Ecuador´s capital, population growth, lack of waste separation at source, and space constraints for the final disposal of municipal solid waste urge the city to find a sustainable SWM system. To address these problems, the municipality introduced a master plan until 2025 that recognizes waste recyclers and its labor as a key element in the system, however, several shortcomings have been identified in the process. Therefore, the momentum that waste recyclers are experiencing made me question. To what extent can the inclusion of waste recyclers into the system drive Quito towards a sustainable SWM system? Following an inductive approach, I chose Complex Systems Theory in order to characterize and understand the interlinkages of the current system. Subsequently, I applied Transition Management as part of a governance framework to investigate to what extent waste recyclers can drive Quito towards a sustainable SWM system. Drawing on 13 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders ranging from authorities to volunteers and a focus group interview with the members of a waste recyclers association, my findings indicate that there are three leverage points where the system can be intervened which are. 1) Education and capacity-building directed to the stakeholders within the system. This will increase the waste recyclers´ capabilities as well as strengthen the governance structures of SWM. 2) Recognition of fairer prices of recyclable material, resulting in higher incomes and thus, better quality of life for waste recyclers and 3) Achievement of greater rates of waste separation at household since this is the main driver of a non-efficient SWM system. Waste recyclers are a key element in the accomplishment of the latter as their work can create a bond between them and the civil society, and thus, raise awareness about the relevance of reducing waste generation, as well as educating about the importance for the environment and their livelihoods of separating waste at source. Therefore, my results point out that indeed waste recyclers can be considered as a seed of change capable of driving Quito towards a sustainable SWM. However, to achieve this, major investments in capacity-building, infrastructure, technology, and social welfare are needed. Finally, acknowledgment of context-specific limitations is crucial when it comes to scalability.},
  author       = {Granizo Murgueytio, Fernando},
  keyword      = {associativity,sustainability science,inclusive solid waste management,seeds of change,waste separation at source},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {"Raising our voice, claiming our space" : in pursuit of a sustainable solid waste management system in Quito, Ecuador},
  year         = {2017},
}