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Solidwaste lying scattered beside the roads, dustbins, and on the ground are notrare sights in India. Though such wastes contain a mixture of refuse fromvarious sources like households, hospitals, factories, and shops, a majorportion of it is comprised of waste generated at the household level.  Household waste comprises those unwanteditems that arise in a domestic dwelling: discarded products such as furniture,clothing or toys, used packaging, food leftovers, garden waste, the by-productsof DIY and so on 1. In simple terms, it can be defined as waste generatedfrom day to day household activities.

Every Indian on an average generatesabout 250 to 350 grams of waste per day 2. With the growth of population andthe consequently growing number of residences, the problem of household wastein India has aggravated. Managing this waste is a herculean task requiring acombination of the methods of source reduction, recycling, incineration andburying in landfills, and conversion. In India however, this is rarely done,mainly due to the wrong perceptions and slackness of the people towards theissue.  Thesame problem is rampant in Mariani, a small town located in the north-easternpart of India, in the Jorhat district of the state of Assam.

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Mariani, acosmopolitan area with a variety of social groups with different economicstructures faces serious problems of household waste disposal. In Mariani, itis seen that waste generated from cooking and human activities are disposed ofin roadsides. Very often these wastes are set on fire too.

The improperhandling and management of Household Waste are causing the adverse effect onthe public at large and this is leading to gradual deterioration of theenvironment of the region.Inthe wake of the growing waste problem in India and the need for proper wastedisposal, the problem assumes great significance. It is more so in the case ofthe smaller towns, as many of the policies undertaken at a larger level fail toget implemented in such towns. It is the local attitude and daily life practicesof the residents that mostly determine the scenario of waste disposal in suchtowns. As the present study attempts to understand the general outlook andpractices of the locals in terms of the disposal of household waste, it willserve as groundwork towards the formulation of local policies for managing thecrisis of waste in such smaller towns.

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