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Solid Waste Collectors

Waste and its disposal is another important issue heavily impacting on landscapes and their local inhabitants. It challenges conventional political approaches, mobilises the public/private spheres, and can inspire pathbreaking scientific and social experiments as well as innovative literary, arts and design projects. High rates of economic growth are radically transforming Indian society and the Indian environment. The winners in this process have attained middle class status, and live increasingly consumerist lifestyles. However, growth has also produced losers: millions have lost their land and livelihoods to expanding mining concerns in the forests of central India, and to sprawling real estate developments in and around urban centres. Moreover, domestic and industrial waste, input intensive agriculture, and growing traffic have all radically undermined the quality of both urban and rural environments. We will examine the contradictions and the limitations inherent in contemporary forms of ‘bourgeois environmentalism’, but also critically assess the suggestion that civil society and environmental concerns are indeed the preserve of ‘bourgeois’ elites.

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