The weak link in waste management in tropical Asia? Solid waste collection in Bali

Graeme MacRae*, Ljiljana Rodic-Wiersma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article builds on earlier work that examined waste processing options on the island of Bali, which can be seen as a useful "laboratory" for the study of solid waste management (SWM) problems and solutions in tropical Asia. The research reported here examines the challenges of waste collection, the component of SWM systems where public awareness and household waste management begin, but which are often a weak link in waste management chains. Moreover, it focuses on small towns and the specific problems they face, which are different from those in large cities that usually receive more political (and scientific) attention. The article consists of ethnographic accounts of waste collection and disposal initiatives in several small towns on the island, intended to cast light on the complex local political, economic and other socio-cultural realities that ultimately determine the success or failure of waste collection as a public utility service. Our evidence suggests a need for more attention to the collection end of the waste handling process and to the local socio-cultural factors that "make or break" waste management systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Asia
  • Bali
  • Indonesia
  • Small towns
  • Socio-cultural factors
  • Solid waste management
  • Waste collection


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