24th -30th April, 2012
24th April will mark the first day of a week long convention which will see close to 500 wastepickers in Pune from over 30 cities in India, and from Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, Philippines, and even Pakistan. These Asian contingents will be joined by wastepickers and activists from African and South American countries. The main purpose of this convention will be to talk about strategies to effectively integrate wastepickers into Solid Waste Management. ULB officials from all over Asia will also be part of this convention.
ULBs officials will attend a day long workshop on the 24th along with city wastepicker representatives. On the 25th visits have been arranged for all 500 particpants including ULB officials. They will see the strides PMC has made in wastepicker integration into solid waste management. Visits will include trips to see SWaCH’s Door to Door collection in PMC and PCMC, sorting sheds, KKPKP’s fair trade scrap shops, and PMC’s biogas plants, some of which are managed by wastepickers. On the 26th a debriefing session will be followed by a cultural event which includes a street play, puppet show and a drum circle simultaneously engaging all 500 participants. The International strategic workshop will proceed from 27th to 29th. The steering committee will convene on the 30th and the convention will culminate in the inauguration of zero – waste prabhags which will be attended by SWaCH and international wastepickers on May 1st, the auspicious occasion of Kamgar Din. The entire convention will be held in Yashada.
Mangal Ubale says “I used to be embarrassed if relatives or neighbours saw me wastepicking- today I wave out to them proudly from the SWACH vehicle. I got more dignity in this work. Earlier I had no one to address my questions to – and no one to question me either- now I have both.” She is joined by 2300 other wastepickers whose livelihoods have changed significantly after SWaCH commenced operations in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. One of the highlights of the convention is the SWaCH wastepicker integration model lauded the world over for 1. Ensuring citizen participation in solid waste management, 2. Generating dignified livelihood to a marginalized community through a cooperative model, 3. Reducing the burden on the municipality and environment by recovery of recyclable waste and 4. Paving the way for a sustainable, low cost, environmentally sensitive waste handling model.
A press conference has been organized on 19th April by SWaCH and PMC at 5:00 pm at Patrakar Bhavan
About SWaCH: 3.2 lakh homes are serviced by a door step waste collection system by SWaCH’s 2000 members wastepickers in Pune. Another 300 members go on approx. 135 tempos in PCMC and collect waste from 2.5 lakh homes. 450 tons of waste are composted each month by SWaCH members. SWaCH Cooperative is authorised to collect waste from PMC and PCMC.
PMC: Pune Municipal Corporation is responsible for the sixth largest city in India. It deals with 1300- 1400 tons of waste each day.
For more information call Malati Gadgil 9158007062 or Lakshmi Narayan 9765999497