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waste lying scattered beside the roads, dustbins, and on the ground are not
rare sights in India. Though such wastes contain a mixture of refuse from
various sources like households, hospitals, factories, and shops, a major
portion of it is comprised of waste generated at the household level.  Household waste comprises those unwanted
items that arise in a domestic dwelling: discarded products such as furniture,
clothing or toys, used packaging, food leftovers, garden waste, the by-products
of DIY and so on 1. In simple terms, it can be defined as waste generated
from day to day household activities. Every Indian on an average generates
about 250 to 350 grams of waste per day 2. With the growth of population and
the consequently growing number of residences, the problem of household waste
in India has aggravated. Managing this waste is a herculean task requiring a
combination of the methods of source reduction, recycling, incineration and
burying in landfills, and conversion. In India however, this is rarely done,
mainly due to the wrong perceptions and slackness of the people towards the
issue.  The
same problem is rampant in Mariani, a small town located in the north-eastern
part of India, in the Jorhat district of the state of Assam. Mariani, a
cosmopolitan area with a variety of social groups with different economic
structures faces serious problems of household waste disposal. In Mariani, it
is seen that waste generated from cooking and human activities are disposed of
in roadsides. Very often these wastes are set on fire too. The improper
handling and management of Household Waste are causing the adverse effect on
the public at large and this is leading to gradual deterioration of the
environment of the region.

the wake of the growing waste problem in India and the need for proper waste
disposal, the problem assumes great significance. It is more so in the case of
the smaller towns, as many of the policies undertaken at a larger level fail to
get implemented in such towns. It is the local attitude and daily life practices
of the residents that mostly determine the scenario of waste disposal in such
towns. As the present study attempts to understand the general outlook and
practices of the locals in terms of the disposal of household waste, it will
serve as groundwork towards the formulation of local policies for managing the
crisis of waste in such smaller towns.

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