As part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a national campaign in India to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country, Chintan along with Safai Sena, an association of waste pickers, with the support of activist Shazia Ilmi, held an event at Central Park of Connaught Place on October 15th, 2014. It was attended by more than 550 waste pickers, senior political leaders such as Mr. Satish Upadhyay (President of Bharatiya Janta Party of Delhi) and Shazia Ilmi. Ms. Ilmi and Mr. Upadhyay spoke about the role of waste pickers in keeping the city clean and their contribution to this Abhiyan. He also assured the waste pickers that he would apprise the central government of the social and other problems faced by the community and try to introduce social security scheme for them. He further said that the work would be started for providing free medical insurance for them under the social security policy of the government.
Waste pickers also spoke about their contribution to the Abhiyan by collection and recycling approximately 20% of total waste. They also shared their experiences working in waste, and pinned green ribbons on the people and gave pamphlets with a message about the crucial role of waste in keeping the city clean.
Here is why waste pickers, kabaris and recyclers matter for a Swachh Bharat:
- There are over 150,000 people in Delhi involved in recycling through collection, segregation etc.
- They recycle 20% of your waste
- They save 3.6 times more greenhouse gases than any project in India that gets carbon credits
- Your waste is a tool to fight poverty-their livelihoods help them feed themselves and send their children to school.
- If they are not recognized, they continue to be treated like the trash they pick. They are asked to pay bribes just to work, and suffer many injuries.
We are very pleased to inform you that we have been covered by all major national dailies, online media and broadcast. Below are some links to media coverage of the event.