1.Introduction Additionally, limitation of civic sense exacerbates the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Introduction

“An ideal village will be so constructed
as to lend itself to perfect sanitation…The very first problem the village
worker will solve is its sanitation,” (Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, 1937; cited in (Malhotra,
2015)).

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1.1Research
Problem

Developing and the most populous countries India and China have
a share of approximately one third of the world’s population. Limited by its
landmass India is hugely overburdened with the population explosion. Waste
management is a major challenge for the government. It is rather a common sight
to see municipal waste bins overloaded to the maximum extent and its contents
spread all over. Additionally, limitation of civic sense exacerbates the issue.
Urban and rural areas alike see men urinating in public, overflowing sewage and
open drains.(Tandon,
2012). This
issue has been getting national attention for several decades. However, the
sight is still common with no sight of declining.

Urban residents often complain to local elected
representatives regarding irregular garbage disposal near their houses. The
lacklustre performance in solid waste management mainly contributes to the
outbreak of malaria, dengue and chikungunaya during monsoon in India(TNN, 2017).

 

According to WHO, promotion of hygiene behaviour can be only
be aided with increased sanitation coverage(Mudur,
2003). The
gravity of the problem is shocking when rural areas are examined. Many Indian
villages have ancestral houses. For centuries there were no toilets built in
them. Women were habituated in using the fields and open spaces for relieving
themselves. Often, getting up at dawn and leaving with fellow women of the
village. Criminal offences like rapes have been committed in these situations.
Hence open defecation has led to violence against women(Rao, 2014). This also aligns with the
empirical evidence that lack of toilets at home can contribute to high risk of
sexual violence.(Jadhav, et
al. 2016). Since
they stem from absence of adequate facilities in household, they are broadly
included as a sanitation problem for this proposal. The initiative to build
toilets in the villages and houses has been met with heavy opposition from the
residents. Their arguments have bordered from cultural to religious
significance(Biswas,
2012). This impedes
the development efforts of the government to meet the Goal 7 of Millennium
Development Goals of the United Nations in ensuring the environmental
sustainability.

 

Another
major challenge for the government is the disposing the volumes of waste
generated from megacities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore In New
Delhi there are three major landfills with all utilized to the maximum extent
permissible. Alternative sites for disposing waste has led to demonstrations
from the locals(Ghosal,
2017). The
residents protest the foul smell, contamination of soil and groundwater. The
vicinity of landfills is generally barren and agricultural land. The domestic
goats, buffaloes and cows graze in these areas. Thus, the garbage also
endangers the lives of livestock.

Overall,
the problems of proper sanitation extend beyond waste generated in homes and
offices. The multidimensional aspect affects everyone at some level.

1.2
Policy relevance

Spending for improved sanitation services is rewarding
strategy that governments have come to realize. Firstly, hygiene interventions
have shown evidence of decreased diarrhoea among children(Waddington
et al. 2009). Such WASH
interventions may also harm the nutritional status of these children(Thongkrajai
et al. 1990). This in
turn lowers the cognitive skill of these children as they grow and enter
formative schooling(McCoy et
al. 2015). Thus,
sanitation is a problem which governments can tackle with investments as it
gives positive returns for society. Economic costs of poor sanitations is
costing countries large amounts that run into billions of dollars(Water and
Sanitation Program, 2007). Thus, government expenditure in sanitation may come
at the cost of other projects like infrastructure. There are positive
externalities which can encourage government and communities alike to see the
benefits of improved sanitation facilities. In Indian villages toilets given to
households were used for other purposed including storing grains(Devarajan,
2014). This
thesis can benefit the policymakers readopt their existing machinery to tackles
the misuse of public built toilets and empower village residents with increased
awareness on the benefits of sanitation infrastructure and proper garbage
disposal.

1.3
Academic relevance

Learning process are vital in teaching sustainability.
Effective disposal of waste adds to the conservation of resources used up in
its management. Social learning outcomes are natural occurrences(Muro &
Jeffrey, 2008). Action
research has been found effective  in
generating awareness for waste segregation in Brazil(Bernardo
& Lima, 2017). These
tend to be participatory action research and guidelines can be outlined for
best practices for the problem. In one such study after the implementation of
the action research the proposed models were continually used resulting in
proper disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)(Paes et
al. 2017). Action
research can hence be useful method for public institution which are
constrained by bureaucratic procedures where rules are contradictory in nature(Paes et
al., 2017). Another
study has found high willingness among member of community to be proactively
engaged in activities for welfare(Lederer et
al., 2015). Thus,
there appears a gap in social learning approaches in waste management.

1.4
Research Question and sub questions

Considering the above problem, the thesis proposal would
address the overarching research question–” To which extent can awareness
building and added with experiential learning change negative behaviour”.
Narrowing down the focus could be firstly, “Under which conditions this
learning takes place?” and secondly, “What other behavioural changes can be
influenced by increasing awareness”

 

 

 

 

2.  Theoretical
Background

Keeping the research question under consideration people in
general tend to dismiss roads and other common infrastructure as government
property. This is reinforced when people pay taxes, further making them believe
that it is a publicly financed property. This alienates them from the shared
responsibility as citizens and puts the burden of welfare of services entirely
on the government. The lack of ownership may also translate into apathy for
such infrastructure. Proper disposal garbage of disposal is starts from the
waste bins in households, however it can be considered normal to discard such
civic sense. Resultantly the onus of waste segregation falls on the municipal
workers. This increases their workload and could contribute to decrease in
their productivity.

Action Research

Action research(AR) is a method proposed by Kurt Lewin in
1944. It is generally started to resolve an urgent problem. The method is
generally led by individuals working in teams to build a community of practice
to address issues. Data gathering is obtained through action alone to reach a
solution. The result is innovative, dynamic and directly tied to the research
question. AR dissolves the boundary between researcher and participants.

The theory found suitable in this aspect could be John
Heron’s and Peter Reason’s cooperative enquiry(Heron
& Reason, 1997). The idea
being to research with people than conducting the research on them. This way
the participant’s feel connected and empowered. The increased enthusiasm could
get them more involved as co-researchers.

3. Data and Method

3.1 Data

            The data
for the research is intended to be collected as responses to a questionnaire to
residents in Kameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India. These responses will then be
analysed using qualitative research methods. The data will be secondary in
nature. The reliability and standards of quality will be kept high.

 

3.2 Possible Methodological approach

              Action
research method will be used for the thesis. The 4 stages of knowledge
collection are propositional, practical, experiential and presentational
knowing.

Ontological World View

I
see it as constructivism, because I interpret creating awareness in people may
bring behavioural response changes, and it is this social aspect under study.

Epistemological World View

I
see it as Interpretivism, because awareness creates actions which change
behaviour, slowly this form of learning may become a habit eliciting a positive
effect.

Dependent Variable: Negative behaviour

Independent Variable: Experiential learning, awareness
building

3.3          
Data and methods
limitations

In this section I am not certain on the type of data that can
be available. The methodological approach needs more work. A major limitation
could be the small sample of participants. It can be difficult to establish the
external validity of the research.

3.4          
Ethical
considerations

Firstly, the questionnaire would pass through an appropriate
ethics committee of the institution, also peer based horizontal checks can
ensure their rigour. Secondly use of consent forms with declaration of
anonymity will be fully explained to the participants.

3.5        
Planned timeline
and intended milestone

 

 

 

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