Can individual behavioral change lead to transformation in Urban Waste Management?

The “Broken Window” theory is used in policing high crime neighborhoods. It can be used as a suitable analogy for tackling the issue of waste management in India. The concept behind the theory is that if one lets minor problems go unnoticed and unattended in a particular environment, over time, it causes a shift in the attitude of the people towards the said environment. They form a tendency to participate in causing such problems without fear of law and order. In the Indian context, one could look at the accumulation of the waste of two households at a given place as the first broken window. If no action was to be taken against them or no one was to reprimand their actions, not only them but also their neighbors would start piling up their waste at the same place. This would result in the area mentioned above becoming a site where people of the neighborhood dump their garbage regularly. The original theory postulates that by minimizing and keeping a check on the more minor crimes and acts of disorder, one can prevent more significant crimes from happening. Similarly, if one were to fix the “broken window,” that is, dumping of unsegregated waste in public areas, it might enable us to address more significant environmental issues caused due to poor waste management on our part. (more…)