Towards Brown Gold: Alleppey, India

Alleppey, a major tourist destination in Kerala, has seen a congestion of its extensive ‘backwater’ canals and severe damage to its fragile ecosystem due to poor waste management practices.

The liquid waste management in Alleppey is inadequate as there is no treatment of faecal waste. It often mixes with water bodies during heavy rains, increasing the spread of water-borne diseases.

Towards Brown Gold brings together an interdisciplinary team working with the local community, government officials and local organisations in the domain of Water and Sanitation. We are researching the links between floods, sanitation and health risks, and how unequal spaces and poor sanitary conditions contribute to these issues. We are also examining the interaction of various actors in the sanitation system, especially the sanitation workforce.

By focusing on the history of sanitation work in Alleppey with contemporary issues of illegality, informality and social exclusion, our work aims to understand the lives and livelihoods of sanitation workers. Along with this research, our team is also looking at the potential of decentralised waste management systems.

Research partner

We are working with the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) in Alleppey.



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Project details

start date
1 April 2020


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