We invite concerned groups and individuals across the globe to support a petition by Bogota’s informal recyclers (waste pickers) urging Colombia’s Inspector-General, Alejandro Ordóñez, to reverse the decision to oust the democratically-elected Mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro. The ruling against Mayor Petro was based on actions he took against private waste management companies in the process of implementing an inclusive Zero Waste Program in Bogota.
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.
At the end of November, the National Movement of Brazilian Waste Pickers organized a week of solidarity with the workers of the Uruguaiana dumpsite, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The waste pickers there have been working in the city for more than 50 years.
SAWPA came together in November to object to the proposal by EnviroServ to construct a waste incineration facility at the Chloorkop waste site, calling on the government to deny EnviroServ permission to build a waste incinerator facility at Chloorkop.
Despite South Africa’s waste management legislation stipulating that incineration be the last resort in waste disposal, approximately 300 waste pickers on the Chloorkop landfill in Kempton Park are set to lose their jobs as a result of Enviroserve’s proposed waste-to-energy incinerator.
GAIA would like to invite our members and allied groups to join our 13th Global Day of Action against Waste Incineration and for Zero Waste Alternatives on November 8, 2013. The 2013 Global Day of Action on Waste and Incineration will be part of the Global Month of Action on Dirty Energy organized by a coalition of international networks. This Month of Action is a united effort to demand the transformation of our energy systems in favor of sustainable and community-based solutions.
In October, the Association of Waste Pickers of Eco Parque Rafey landfill in the Dominican Republic warned about the dangers of a landfill called the Vertedero Municipal de Santiago de los Caballeros. Because of poor management, the landfill frequently catches on fire.
125 wastepickers, with the support of 400 volunteers diverted over 97 tonnes of nirmalya — offerings from this Ganapati festival — from the city’s rivers!!
The Montevideo “Waste Law”, initiated by the municipality in 2004 requires companies that produce waste to develop a waste management plan. The city, now focusing on the recycling aspects of this law, wants the waste pickers to formalize into businesses. The law requires that the organizations that win the public bid contract waste pickers and manage their operations, controlling their work hours and and the neighborhoods in which they collect.
The National Movement of Brazilian Waste Pickers – MNCR/RS, strongly denounces statements made by Fernando Mello, the coordinator of the program that will ban the use of horse-drawn carts by the beginning of 2015. “We want to end informal recycling, as well as other informal livelihoods, that many times operate in inhuman conditions, so that they can work formally and in more lucrative and dignified jobs.”
In the first week of September, 246 waste pickers of the Gericinó dumpsite in Bangú, a peripheral neighborhood in the Rio de Janeiro municipality, were facing the possibility of being suddenly out of work. The workers found out that the city, which has been in the process of closing the dumpsite for many months, was going to hand management over to a private company within two weeks time and that the dumpsite would be off limits.
In the face of the pork barrel scam that has recently shaken the country, Luzon-based waste pickers unite today to bewail corruption as a dagger driven right into their hearts, trampling on their rights for social recognition and legal protection as unsung heroes of the environment.
On August 31, as part of the Red Lacre meeting held in Chile, 15 delegates visited waste pickers in the Los Molles landfill in the city of Valparaíso, only a few days before its closure and the opening of a new one. The purpose of the visit was to show support and give motivation for local organizing and reintegration at the new landfill. Los Molles has been open for more than 30 years.
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.
Join us by signing this letter to Mexican authorities requesting protection for Jorge Tadeo Vargas, an activist who struggles peacefully for environmental and social justice from the territories.
SAFAI SENA: If they pick waste, they must be thieves — the daily struggles of a waste picker in Delhi
Manwara, a waste picker, has been in Delhi since her childhood. She chose this work to add to her husband’s income who is also a waste picker. Recently, Manwara’s dream turned ugly when her innocent children were blamed for a theft that happened in the nearby area. She was unaware that her being waste picker would make her so vulnerable to being accused, harassed, and suffers violence openly.
Currently wastepickers have to deal with this waste as part of household waste that they collect and also when they are picking from containers, dumps and landfills. In the recent years the amounts of this waste is also rising rapidly. As you can imagine handling this waste with their bare hands is particularly degrading and can impact the health of women who can have a compromised immune system from malnutrition and hardships.
On July 26, Safai Sena sent letters to New Delhi’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare in the Women and Child Department and the Delhi Commission for Women detailing what happened to the Safai Sena waste picker and her son on July 19 and calling for a number of actions and reforms. (the letters were written by Jai Prakash Choudhary, Safai Sena secretary)