Rubbish, Resources and Residues

A project investigating the need for integrated approaches to solid waste management.

Rubbish, Resources and Residues: Waste and Well-Being in Ethiopia and Pakistan is a research project funded by the British Academy's Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being programme.

Unsustainable waste generation due to rapid urban population growth in Pakistan and Ethiopia is rendering municipal solid waste management (SWM) urgent. Uncollected waste spreads disease, threatening the health and well-being of residents, especially the poorest. Alongside technical issues in the handling of waste quantities, types and sources, this project aims to examine institutional dynamics and the role played by households and communities in integrated approaches to SWM. It seeks to explore the intersection of official systems with informal waste and recycling economies. A key focus is on policies such as decentralisation, the rise of private utilities, as well as the influx of migrants and refugees into the cities (who compete for access to waste sources and jobs) and their impact on the relatively stable but gendered and hierarchical control of waste work by micro-mafias and hereditary occupational status groups associated with dirty work.


Project team

Principal Investigator
Jo Beall, LSE Cities

Jo Beall, LSE Cities
Saeed Ahmed
Suneela Ahmed
Syed Mansoor Ali
Hayal Desta
Eyob Gebremariam
Julia King, LSE Cities
Nuno F. da Cruz, LSE Cities



Working papers

Beall, J., Ali, M., Ahmed, S., Ahmed, S., Desta, H., Gebremariam, E. , da Cruz, N.F. (2022). Why Integrated Solid Waste Management is so elusive – learning from Africa and Asia. Research Strand 03 (May 2022). LSE Cities Working Papers.

Field reports

Desta, H. (2022). An overview of solid waste management systems in the city administration of Addis Ababa: past to present. Field Report 01 (May 2022), Rubbish, Resources and Residues. LSE Cities.

Principal Investigator
Jo Beall
Research team
Jo Beall; Saeed Ahmed; Suneela Ahmed; Syed Mansoor Ali; Hayal Desta; Eyob Gebremariam; Julia King; Nuno F.da Cruz
Project funder
British Academy
Research strand
Urban Governance
2019 - 2022