Dr. Letícia Sarmento dos Muchangos is an Assistant Professor at Osaka University, Japan. She is a trained environmental engineer with a foundation in civil engineering. Her research is primarily about material resources, waste management, and the race towards the establishment of a “Circular Economy” society. Those connected themes are mainly investigated at local and regional levels.
The local level focuses on assessing the environmental, social, and economic impacts and risks of unsustainable solid waste management in urban areas of low-income countries. That requires an integrated look at the waste system policy, institutions, and decision-making processes; the stakeholders and the nature of their interactions; the critical waste material flows; the social and environmental impacts; and the cost requirements. The goal is to clarify what vital changes need to occur to achieve sustainable and equitable waste systems, particularly for the urban poor, who are the most exposed and vulnerable. At the regional level, locations in the Global South region take centre stage to analyse the governance elements that characterise the development of circular societies in the region related to itself and the connection with the Global North. The leading research questions include: what should govern sustainable plastic waste flows and management within national and transnational boundaries? Where are those flows originating from? Who has a say in its distribution and management? Who and (by how much) is most at risk of dealing with the burden of those decisions?