The anthropologists Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey have explored how the mobile phone revolutionized the lives of people in India, which led them to come up with the writing of ‘Waste of a Nation: Garbage and Growth in India’ book.
This book covers almost everything of the creation of waste—from production to management of waste (or not) and reuse. Doron’s visit to Seelampur in north-east Delhi, where electronic waste is recycled, threw up nagging questions that led the duo on a four-year-long journey exploring India’s monumental waste crisis.
The book further takes a deep-dive into waste management in the country, setting it within important historical, economic and social contexts. From Alang in Gujarat where ships are broken by hand, to the outskirts of Varanasi where strands of human hair are collected and processed, Doron and Jeffrey also bring out the human stories that often get lost in the popular discourse around waste and sanitation.
However, Doran and Jeffrey still feel that India can still make fortunes out of the waste and convert it into wealth by recycling the valuable materials from electronic waste and items like solar panels.