Delhi generates about 8360 tons of municipal solid waste per day, and there is low compliance to rules regarding waste management. The objective of this paper was to understand the situation in Delhi with respect to the segregation, storage, collection, and disposal of household waste, and to assess the knowledge of the residents of Delhi, and their willingness to engage in solid-waste management. A stratified random sample, comprising 3047 respondents, was chosen for a questionnaire survey, covering all municipalities of Delhi, with socio-economic classification as the stratifying variable. Survey results indicate that 60% of residents do not know the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and only 2% of them segregate waste. Fifty-eight percent of respondents reported that the waste collector mixes the segregated waste, 97% of respondents reported that they sold items to an itinerant waste buyer, and 87% of households are covered by doorstep waste collection services. Abstract knowledge (general knowledge about waste management) is seen to have a significant correlation with willingness to engage in waste management. Differences between the socio-economic groups indicate that the highest (most educated and wealthy), as well as the lowest socio-economic category (least educated and poor), older age-groups, and women, have greater abstract knowledge. Socio-economic categories having higher abstract knowledge can be active participants in decentralized models of waste management.
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