On January 26th, waste pickers working at Devguradia dumping ground in Indore, India, celebrated India’s 66th Republic Day. The workers gathered at the dumping ground premises at 9 am to hoist the national flag and celebrate the Republic Day. Children carried balloons and national flags in their hands. It was a moving experience to see the tiny hands that pick up waste holding the national flag, the children with a smile on their faces. It is also important to remember that these children are denied the basic right to education due to poverty. Waste pickers play a vital role in solid waste management and keeping the city clean but unfortunately their hard work and service is not being recognized by society and the government.
Approximately 700 metric tons of waste that is generated in Indore city is being dumped at the dumping ground daily. There are about 250 men and women along with about 100 children working daily in the dumping ground picking up waste (plastic, paper, glass and metals). They live their lives from the little money earned from the waste collected.
Janvikas has been working for the past 14 years for the empowerment of waste pickers in Indore through the unorganized women workers’ union and cooperative.