Concept: The rising waste crisis across the globe has become most visible in the world’s developing countries. As the economy grows, so does the need for sustainable waste solutions. Like many South Asian countries, India struggles with this overwhelming issue. Today, it has three massive open waste dumps which continue to grow, one of which is taller than the Taj Mahal (at over 70 metres) and is called ‘Mount Everest’ by locals.
Outcome (Ongoing project – started 2020):
This fictional alternative tourist guide is part of the overall long-term project Archives of Humankind. It takes the 2020 anniversary of the land-fills to investigate the complexity of urban waste, by provocatively situating them as monuments amongst sights such as Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar. The guide also hints at the ways a city or country likes to be represented, using stock photography to tell an equally fictional truth, as well as the local issues it might rather gloss over. The guide therefore also introduces the local community living in the 5km danger zones around the waste dumps, including the ragpickers whose lives depend on selling recyclables from the landfills.