Document Type



Kinesiology & Health Sciences

Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Pub Date

Winter 3-11-2021

Journal Article URL


The inadequate management of municipal solid waste (MSW) in fast-developing nations is a major public health problem. Trash collection is often inconsistent, leaving residents to use unsafe disposal methods such as incineration or unregulated dumping. The issue is especially pronounced in marginalized communities, where public service provision is scarce. Past research has identified factors that perpetuate harmful disposal practices. The current study expanded on previous work by exploring how individuals’ perceptions of political, spatial, and economic marginalization affected their agency with regards to waste management. Researchers focused on a marginalized community in the Dominican Republic known as Esfuerzo de Paraíso. There, they conducted semi-structured interviews to explore residents’ perceptions of marginalization at the individual, interpersonal, community, and institutional levels, and its effects on their agency. A qualitative coding process revealed that most community members were discontent with their trash disposal practices, but that long-standing marginalization left them feeling ill equipped to generate change at the individual level. Interviewees believed that change should be initiated at the community level and implemented with the support of institutional-level actors, namely the municipal government. Residents did not identify any non-governmental organizations as possible sources of help, which may suggest a limited view of institutional support networks.