In 2007 waste pickers in Pune stepped out of garbage containers to establish SWaCH, a workers cooperative to provide front end waste management services to their city. SWaCH enabled their transition from waste pickers to service providers.
Pressure against the private contractors has been mounting since the Pimpri Chinchwad municipal government (PCMC) withheld payment from the company for violating labor laws. The new contracts proposed by the city government are supposed to ensure that workers will be paid minimum wages.
On August 16, 2013, over 250 waste recyclers of Safai Sena held a protest in front of Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam office. Many of them marched over 12 kilometers despite heavy rains that day. The protest was organized to raise a collective voice against the illegal collection of money by private contractors and exploitation of waste recyclers in Kavi Nagar and Mohan Nagar zones.
The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation authorities had been shockingly apathetic to the inhuman treatment to over 400 waste workers employed by its contractor BVG Kshitij. In frustration, the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) called for a public “verification drive” to ascertain the exact wages paid to workers by the company.
On January 1, a fire broke out in the municipal landfill of León, Nicaragua. According to Red Lacre, bad management by the municipal government and Cielo Group, the company responsible for the landfill’s operations, was the cause of the fire.
SWaCH — a waste picker-owned cooperative that was responsible for recycling throughout half of Pune, India — has been fighting a battle since it was squeezed out by a private contractor hired by the municipal government.
The Second Organizing Meetings with Waste Pickers was held in seven target cities in Nigeria. The purpose of the meetings is to support waste pickers’ organizing so they can better represent and protect themselves and have a platform to relate with members of the public, the government, waste dealers and other end users in a more organized way.
In December, Sujeylin Isabel Ordoñez Quesada, a waste picker with “Cooperativa de Recuperadores del Pacifico R.L (COOPEREPA)” of Costa Rica, sent an email to Red Lacre (Latin American Network of Waste Pickers) requesting advice about what actions to take in regards to the closure of the Parque Ambiental de Garabito landfill and the likely loss of the livelihoods of the 18 families working there.
Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group and Safai Sena just released a new documentary, Credits vs Carbon Credits. The film explores the effects of large projects vying for carbon credits on the livelihoods of waste pickers.
The second round of a workshop to support waste pickers organizing in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, was held in January of 2013. The Congolese Women’s Right League, a StreetNet affiliate, with support from WIEGO, organized an event that brought together 30 waste picker delegates from Bandundu, Bas Congo and Kinshasa.
“Chronicles of a struggle for inclusion: The December 2012 garbage crisis of Bogota” shows organized waste pickers promptly taking actions to reduce the impact of the garbage crisis in Bogota and giving an account of the series of unfortunate events and bad decisions that led to it, and of their struggles and victories throughout time to secure their rights and livelihoods.
In March 2007, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) released a Performance Audit of Management of Waste in India. Amongst his observations, one was related to the lack of recognition of the informal sector. The report stated, “Only 17 percent of the sampled states had recognized the role of the wastepickers.”