Waste Pickers from all over the world were at Expocatadores 2012 in Sao Paulo.
Waste pickers in Kenya are fighting to be heard. It has been a slow process of building solid organisation but it is showing results.
In the towns of Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi many people view pickers as trouble makers, especially as gangs sometimes operate from dumps. In fact the waste pickers are earning an honest living by collecting, sorting and selling metals such as aluminium, copper and iron as well as plastic bottles and containers, cloth, bones and organic waste.
In the city of Bogotá, Colombia, waste pickers of the Recyclers’ Association of Bogota (ARB) have been organizing themselves for more than two decades. ARB is one of the oldest independent waste picker-run associations in the world. But the association and its 2,500 members are not being recognized by the current municipal government of Bogotá. Their livelihoods are threatened by the interests of big companies and members of the government who are trying to take over the profitable business of solid waste management.
This is the English translation of the petition for an inclusive recycling in Bogotá, Colombia.
Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá: I want your guarantee of real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.
I want him to ensure the real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.”On December 18th 2012, the department of the district government which is responsible for waste management in Bogotá, UAESP, plans to deliver new contracts to fictitious waste picker organizations. It is demonstrating once again a lack of compliance with its agreements, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of waste pickers and their families.” Read the full petition in English.
Juliene Mangni, is one of two waste pickers from African countries participating at Expocatadores. This is her first trip outside of Benin. She is the president of an association of 366 women waste pickers in her city of Cotonou, Benin. She and the other women waste pickers sell the plastics, cans and cardboards they collect at a large market. Juliene is trying to improve the situation for the waste pickers. They lack basic equipment for waste picking. Another major issue is that the local government doesn’t acknowledge the waste pickers and provides no support.
Expocatadores is an event for business, experience exchanges, disseminating knowledge and technology for efficient and inclusive waste management. The event, which runs from Nov. 28-30, is hosting 1,500 waste pickers from 25 Brazilian states as well as visitors and government leaders. On Nov. 29, former president Lula Inácio da Silva spoke in the main auditorium. There has also been an international presence, with participation from waste pickers from 12 countries in Latin America as well as India, Benin, and Kenya.
Also happening during Expocatadores is the 3rd National and International Gathering of Waste Pickers, the goal of which is to exchange experiences. The themes debated in the technical seminars focus on the implementation of the National Waste Policy, the closing of open dumps and waste management plans.
Pune2012: Sharing experiences of integration and inclusion in municipal solid waste management systems
Catadores na Cúpula dos Povos/ Recicladores en la Cumbre de los Pueblos/ Waste pickers at the People’s Summit
The South African Waste Picker’s Association (SAWPA) is in solidarity with waste pickers across the globe. We would like to commemorate the day of remembrance of all waste pickers around the world who die on the streets or landfills. Those Men and Women who we witness everyday being brutalized, beaten to death, shot, run over by trucks while trying to earn a living through waste recycling.
Global Waste Pickers’ Day is celebrated on March 1 in memory of the massacre in Colombia in which 11 workers were brutally killed. For the past 20 years since this tragic event, waste pickers/recyclers have continued fighting for recognition of their work.