As of 14 January, Gustavo Petro was still the mayor of Bogotá. But only for 10 days. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.
On November 20-21, waste pickers came together in the city of Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, Venezuela, for their 3rd National Conference. The objective of the conference was to begin designing the Waste Pickers’ Plan for recycling collection in municipalities.
Sign the resolution below, as part of Don’t Burn Our Future! Global Day of Action Against Waste Burning and for Zero Waste, November 8, 2013
Congratulations to the association of waste pickers of the Mao landfill, in the Dominican Republic, for hosting their first assembly on July 21st. “We continue to move forward towards the creation of the National Movement of Waste Pickers of the Dominican Republic,” the Asociación de los Recicladores del Ecoparque Rafey said on their facebook page. See their facebook post with photos.
The profession of biffins (“waste picker” in french) has been recognized since 1240, and the right to recover materials since 1670. The biffins are skilled in collecting, repairing and upgrading objects and devices, with ancient expertise in sorting and selling.
Practical Action through the PRISM (Poverty Reduction of Informal Workers in Solid Waste management Sectors) project recently organised a 15 days entrepreneur’s skill development training on recyclable waste (plastic) to female waste pickers to enhance their entrepreneurship capacity in the Kathmandu valley as most of the waste enterprises in Nepal are owned by men.
Waste pickers in the Global South have something to celebrate. After intense campaigning in the last two years by GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative) and the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (see “Information on CDM” below) will withdraw support to projects that cannot provide evidence that they are not harming recycling efforts.
A truly strong waste pickers’ organisation has a collective leadership that represents its members who are active and make democratic decisions. For all elements to work together an organisation needs clear objectives, structures and rules. It needs policies and procedures. All of these things must be in writing for all members to see and should be formally adopted by the members. This is the organisation’s constitution.
“These waste pickers from Kinshasa are very creative,” commented Wiego’s (Women in Informal Employment Globalising & Organising) Kapita Tuwizana. “Being so poor has made them think in imaginative ways.” They collect garbage such as plastic, cardboard, metal like any other waste pickers but they also make new things from this waste and sell it.
Michael Hanna Shukri is an Egyptian who is working hard on a new waste picker’s union. We spoke to him about his work and organization.
What is your background? I am a young Zabaleen, which is the name of Cairo’s informal garbage collectors who started working in Cairo 80 years ago. I am 23 and I have been working for ten years. I am a member of the waste picker union and sit on the Spirit of the Youth’s board of directors. Spirit of the Youth is an NGO working with young Zabaleen which has spearheaded a campaign to start a union and helped it with money. Read more