Les Rencontres de l’IFP - Monthly conference

Short Documentary Film:  “The people of waste. Living Plastic” (IRD-CNRS, 18 min, Rémi de Bercegol, Grant Davis, Shankare Gowda)

Date: Feb 7 2023 | Time: 7 PM | Venue: Alliance Francaise Auditorium, Pondicherry

What happens to our garbage after it is dumped? Through the example of Delhi, the film explores the transformation of a piece of plastic waste into a resource, through filmed interviews with diverse “people of waste” living in the shadow of consumer society. It aims at making visible the myriad of professions that specialize in the collection, sorting, reselling, cleaning, shredding and transformation of waste, from the stigmatized garbage picker at the bottom of the chain until the industrialist at the top of the pyramid who re-injects the recovered materials into the formal economy.

Beyond the Indian case, it reminds the spectators of their responsibility as a producer of waste and their relation with this waste recovery system, putting into question the ambivalent discourses on recycling which tend to legitimize an endless mass consumption.

This short documentary film (18min), has been co-directed by Rémi de Bercegol (CNRS), together with Grant Davis and Shankare Gowda; funded by « IRD Images », completed with “MITI CNRS », it has been shot in February 2019 in and around Delhi. It relies on a scientific understanding of the on-going scenario in Delhi and aims at opening the debate to a broader non-academic audience about the relationship between societies and waste.

Watch it here:

- In English:


- In French:


Related academic reference- de Bercegol, Rémi, and Shankare Gowda. "A new waste and energy nexus? Rethinking the

modernisation of waste services in Delhi." Urban Studies 56.11 (2019): 2297-2314.

AFP IFP monthly conference

Dr. Rémi de Bercegol (BIO)

Dr. Rémi de Bercegol is a CNRS research fellow, affiliated in France to PRODIG (UMR 8586, Paris). He has a doctorate in urban planning from LATTS (research group on technology, territories and societies) at Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Université Paris Est, France.

His current research focuses on socio-technical transition of basic urban services (water, sanitation, waste, energy) in India (as well as in East Africa and South East Asia), and more broadly urban dynamics. At IFP he is now coordinating a research programm focusing on the tourisitic urbanisation in mountains areas through the example of hill stations in South Asia and South East Asia. On top of publishing his research work, Dr. Rémi de Bercegol has been also involved in different exhibitions to communicate about his research activities on waste workers with the project “City of Waste”(in Paris, Marseille, Delhi, Kochi) and the making of the movie “People of waste” that he has presented at different venues in India, Vietnam and France.