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Precarious conditions of informal recyclers at the 'City of Flies', Antananarivo, Madagascar

Waste picking at Madagascar’s notorious Andralanitra dump has provided a source of income for over 3,000 people, but their contribution to recycling remains largely unconsidered in recent plans to rehabilitate the site and improve waste recovery.


Andralanitra dump, located in the same-named town on the outskirts of Antananarivo, was opened in 1965 and extended in 2007. As the country’s largest dumpsite, it is locally referred to as ‘Ralalitra’ (city of flies) and now receives around 800 tons of waste per day [1], about half of all waste in the metropolitan area. A planned closure of Andralanitra in 2012 failed as no alternative dumpsite could be found and, hence, the site remains in use until at least 2020. A project to enclose and reorganize the site in order to extend its lifespan was announced with funding from the French Development Agency (AFD), which also initiated a pilot project to improve the recovery of plastic and organic waste. This should increase the municipal recycling capacities in order to prepare the closure of the dumpsite at a later point and, as it was announced, would also involve the regulation of waste pickers’ activities. [2][3][4] After the AFD involvement ended in 2017, some of the composting and waste recovery activities were further run by the Positive Planet Foundation and French companies [1][3][5].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Precarious conditions of informal recyclers at the 'City of Flies', Antananarivo, Madagascar
Location of conflict:Antananarivo
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Andranalitra dump is located 9 km east of Antananarivo, in the commune of Ambohimangakely, and receives about 800 tons of mixed waste per day [1]. Since the 1960s, it is estimated to have accumulated more than 2,000,000 m³ of waste [11]. Between 2010 and 2017, the French Development Agency funded a € 2 million project to improve the conditions of the site. This should reduce contamination, develop a drinking water network in the surrounding area, and prepare the closing of the landfill by establishing waste recovery and recycling projects. [4]

Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,157,000.00 USD
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Service Autonome de Maintenance de la Ville d’Antananarivo (SAMVA) from Madagascar
Relevant government actors:Urban City of Antananarivo (CUA)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Ministry
International and Finance InstitutionsFrench Development Agency (AFD) from France
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association AKAMASOA
Platform de Comite de Pre-collect des ordures (PLAFCCO)
Rafitra Fikojàna ny Rano sy Fidiovana (RF2)
NGO Enda
Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (Globalrec)
Positive Planet Foundation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Andrianisa et al. (2018) suggest the inclusion of informal recyclers in integrated recycling schemes and note that, in addition to already existing support of NGOs and associations, this also needs the involvement of the public sector - for example when it comes to recognizing the status of dumpsite workers and improving their occupational health and safety as well as economic and institutional position. [8] As the Global Alliance for Waste Pickers further notes, waste pickers could be included in formal waste collection schemes of the municipality, for example as part of associations contracted in the door-to-door collection (such as PLAFCCO). This would provide more social and economic security and also improve waste collection in Antananarivo. [9]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:With the recent pilot projects and development interventions, the hazardous and toxic conditions of Andralanitra dumpsite are likely to improve. Moreover, the longstanding support of the Akamasoa association has helped many people to access to housing, education, and health care. However, there are no signs that informal recycling and the situation of people whose livelihoods still depend on waste picking are going to improve. On the contrary, the recent projects to formalized recycling activities could soon exclude them from their only source of income.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[8] Andrianisa, H., Randriatsiferana, F., Rakotoson, S., Rakotoaritera, F. (2018): Socio-economic integration of the informal recycling sector through an NGO intervention at the Andralanitra dumpsite in Antananarivo, Madagascar. In: Waste Management & Research, 36/1, 86-96.

[10] WIEGO – Globalrec (2012): Waste Picking in Africa. Volume 2.1, April 2012.

[13] Borgia, G. (2012): Madagascar: Tananarive et ses ordures. Youtube, 10.01.2014. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[1] Duvert, P. (2019): À Tananarive, Amboditsiry, un quartier sans ordures. Zinfos 974, 30.01.2019. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[2] MIDI Madagasikara (2015): Site de décharges d’Andralanitra : Encore opérationnel jusqu’en 2020 si…. 07.10.2015. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[3] syctom (n.d.) Madagascar - Antananarivo (Andralanitra). (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[4] AFD (2017): Improving waste management in Antananarivo. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[6] Ioussouf, R. (2016): Madagascar : survivre dans une décharge. BBC, 11.11.2016. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[9] Globalrec (n.d.): Antananarivo. Madagascar. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[11] no comment (2017): Andralanitra : Un monde d’ordures. 07.12.2017. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[12] Bononi, R. (2016): Inside Madagascar's 'City of Flies'. Vice, 27.05.2016. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[14] Maguire, T. (2017): Working among rats and needles for 70p a day: life on Madagascar’s mega dump – in pictures. The Guardian, 20.12.2017. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[15] AFP (2019): A Antananarivo, sur un tas d’ordures, la cité de l’espoir du père Pedro. L’Obs, 06.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[16] RFI (2019): À Madagascar, les cités des pauvres d'Akamasoa fêtent leurs 30 ans. 09.10.2019. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[17] Akamasoa (2016): Lettre ouverte au responsible de la décharge. 07.01.2016. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[7] Bononi, R. (2015): City of Flies. Vimeo, 23.10.2015. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[13] Borgia, G. (2012): Madagascar: Tananarive et ses ordures. Youtube, 10.01.2014. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)
[click to view]

[13] Borgia, G. (2012): Madagascar: Tananarive et ses ordures. Youtube, 10.01.2014. (Online, last accessed: 04.04.2020)

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Project (MS)
Last update11/05/2020
Conflict ID:5011
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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