Building Sustainable Communities In Mumbai Under The Circular Economy Program: Earth5R’s Waste Management And Livelihood Training

With the increasing population in the slums of Mumbai, a severe need for formal waste management systems is observed.

The lack of waste management techniques leads to the dumping of waste on streets and in rivers.

Earth5R’s Circular Economy program aims to solve this problem at the grass-root level. By providing waste management training to the residents of these slums and helping them reduce the waste generated from their homes.


Earth5R volunteers conduct regular waste segregation trainings for the slum communities in Mumbai 

The Circular Economy gives us the opportunity to build a system that can run in the long term, and the time is right for it to reach scale.

Ken Webster

Earth5R volunteer conducting waste management and segregation training for the locals in Mumbai to solve the waste management crisis

Mumbai also has a thriving network of small scale businesses which too, lack a proper waste management system. The waste generated from these businesses is either thrown away in the rivers or can be seen in open dumps.

Mumbai’s slums occupy 12% of its total geographic area and 65% of Mumbai’s population.


Such unfavourable living conditions created by open dumps around the slums are addressed and the crisis is solved by educating locals in waste management


The volunteers conduct engaging on-ground training for the families living in slums in Mumbai.


Earth5R volunteers train people of all age groups in the basics of waste management

Earth5R’s team of volunteers start with on-ground training which includes educating the slum dwellers about the hazards of open dumping and teaching them various methods by which they can reduce the amount of waste generated from their homes.

The Kurla region of Mumbai, marked by a large number of unauthorized settlements, has about 400,000 citizens who are living without a formal waste management system.


An Earth5R volunteer conducting waste management training for the women of the community.

Under the Livelihood Program, Earth5R also trains citizens about upcycling and assists them in making easy to produce and scalable products through which the families living in slums can earn a livelihood. Earth5R especially trains the women in these communities under the Livelihood program and helps them start small businesses with upcycled goods, thus empowering them and guiding them to understand the value of entrepreneurship.


A volunteer conducts Livelihood training for women which makes them financially independent


Mithi river, flowing through the densely populated regions of Mumbai is polluted with the waste generated in the neighbouring localities

However, Mithi River, which flows through this densely populated region of Mumbai atones for this development. Due to the lack of a formal waste disposal system, the scrap from the residents and small scale industries are dumped into the river. Earth5R, in partnership with  RiverRecycle, United Nations Technology Innovation Labs, and VTT is working to solve this problem with the help of a plastic debris recovery machine funded by Huhtamäki which can remove 60 tonnes of plastic per day.


Under Livelihood Training, the locals – especially the women – are taught to make products from the collected waste material

Earth5R operates the plastic debris recovery machine for the cleanup of the Mithi river, which has the potential to extract 60 tonnes of waste, daily.

Earth5R not only works to fundamentally reduce the waste generated by these communities but also to recycle the waste that is produced.


An Earth5R volunteer carrying out Community and Livelihood training for the families in the slum region of Mumbai

Earth5R is training 100 families each day under the Circular Economy program. Our volunteers have trained over 4,500 families in Mumbai, in the last 50 days.

Earth5R’s team of volunteers continues to train hundreds of families every day, striving to ensure that the citizens in slums have cleaner conditions to live in, working to help them earn a dignified livelihood and venturing to build a sustainable city.


Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office at Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs across India.

Earth5R specializes in circular economy based projects. Earth5R also offers short term and long term environmental courses and fellowships.

Reported by Om Nair, edited by Riya Dani

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