The�informal sector,�informal�economy, or grey economy is the part of an economy that is neither taxed, nor monitored by any form of government.

Informal sector is essential both for the economics and environment of the developing countries. By collecting waste materials the informal sector takes over a part of the municipalities and since the waste collections in labour intensive, it involves no skills or transportation costs providing livelihood opportunities to many urban poor.

The informal waste management sector directly and indirectly addresses the Millenium Development Goals (given by UNEP) of poverty and environment. However, it also raises dangers on few other pillars of Millemium Development Goal such as Health.

�Few representatives of the issues which surface the group in the informal sector are:

  • Occupational health and safety

  • Environmentally harmful impact

  • Child labor

  • Adherence to minimum wages

  • Access to capital

  • Conflicts among groups for materials

  • Poverty Addressing tool

  • Slum development near landfill sites

  • Large scale hazards due to lack of education and awareness

This sector has the least consideration for health; all they are concerned about is to raise income, especially in case of children and women. They are highly vulnerable social community with low negotiating status and thus are exploited by waste merchants.

�According to the report Recycling Responsibility, a rag pickerearns R.s. 40 to R.s. 80 a day; children earn just R.s. 10 to R.s. 15 a day. Sometimes rag pickers receive advance payments from intermediaries to buy recyclable waste directly from households, a practice that creates an additional dependency because in return, the rag pickers are obliged to sell the collected material back to intermediaries (Srishti 2002b).

(Shrishti is a Non-government organization and developed report on Socio-Economic Profile of Waste Collector Manpower in Delhi,2002)