Landfills are ‘non-places,’ archives and hiding places of global production and consumption, yet in constant motion. They transform local ecologies to non-natures as “accumulation(s) without metabolism.” Everything here is in various states of transition, leaching out chemicals and toxic metals, intermingling dispossessed humans, bacteria and viruses, a seeming resting place from where new seepages begin into other strata and mediums. They have a stench of decay and rot, where waste pickers, rummage for dregs and leftovers. Often sited where the out-of-sight poor reside, they constitute a situated experienced ‘nature,’ unglorified and unromantic.  Without them, the global economy could collapse, since here capitalisms outcastes – ‘negative goods’ ‘polluted’ bodies, and other beings – interact intimately and are normalized.

Locating the waste landfill as a terrestrial Critical Zone of material, human and more than human entanglements, the panel will critically examine the concept of toxicity / pollution/ contamination/ co-evolution as a way in which ‘nature,’ is produced and how it impacts our understandings of the current ecological condition.

Ravi Agarwal