Enhancing the working conditions of the ‘clasificadores’ in Uruguay by regulating the shadow trash market

This is the third in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Luca Brockmann and Antonio Manzi Gari

Even though Uruguay was picked in 2013 as country of the year by The Economist, mainly due to its progressive social reforms, it still faces deeply entrenched social problems. Among these is the situation of the informal waste collectors, the ‘clasificadores’, whose main source of income is generated by searching for recyclable materials in landfills and residential waste containers which they can take to deposits or recycling plants to be sold. From the limited data available, we estimate that around 4,000 households in Uruguay depend on this ‘trash market’ as their main source of income, which translates to about 18,000 people. Moreover, more than 5,500 of them (28 per cent) are estimated to be children under the age of 14. Continue reading

Smartphone addiction: An emerging global digital epidemic

This is the second in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Meena Nayar and Gemma Scott

Smartphone use has increased exponentially in the last decade, with more than 2.3 billion users worldwide in 2017. Smartphones have made staying in touch easier and given us constant access to the internet and social media, with many of us now seemingly unable to function without one. However, emerging scientific research suggests that many of us are becoming addicted to our smartphones, leading to a host of negative health and social consequences. Continue reading

If we want young people to contribute more to society, maybe we should try asking their opinion

By Alma Grant, Helen Murphy and Saba Hinrichs-Krapels

Alma Grant and Helen Murphy recently completed a week’s work experience at the Policy Institute.

Here at the Policy Institute we have just launched a health commission led entirely by 18 students and recent graduates of King’s College London. The commission is funded by NHS England and intended to envision revolutionary changes to healthcare during the next 15 years.

Clearly we thought this was a good idea (and so did our funder), but we were curious to see who else had done something similar around the world. We started to look around to find examples of young people’s involvement in the creation of public policy. We were particularly interested in finding out whether involving young people affects the success of projects. Continue reading