List of Waste Picker Groups in Antananarivo
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City Report: Interview with a local Waste Picker
A Conversation With: Rabarijaona Alain.
Formal Solid Waste Management SystemAlain tells us that in Antananarivo households dispose of waste in community bins (on average one for every 15 households). The waste is then moved to a transfer station, about two for every one of the 192 neighborhoods. Finally the municipality transports the waste to one of the city’s three landfills. The collection efficiency is low due to organizational issues and lack of trucks, so that part of the waste remains in informal dumpsites along roadsides.
Informal Recycling SystemInformal collectors contribute by complementing the official collection system, picking up recyclable materials in the community bins, transfer stations, and landfills. In the city as a whole there are thousands of waste pickers who provide this service. Alain estimates that there are at least one or two waste pickers at every transfer station. In 2005, an NGO called ENDA Ocean-Indien started a door-to-door collection project, which now serves approximately 50 neighborhoods (one fourth of the city). Waste collectors (collectors, in French) collect the waste with two-wheeled manual carts and transport it to the transfer stations. There is no official contract or permission by the municipality, which remains a mere observer. Instead, ENDA has provided each of the waste collectors with identification cards. On a voluntary basis, the households pay the waste collectors a monthly fee. ENDA is a supporting NGO. The ENDA project objective with waste pickers is to improve waste management in Antananarivo through the implementation of sustainable waste collecting system in poor districts. ENDA supports leaders of various districts in the city of Antananarivo to organize waste collecting system in their areas. It also accompanies them to increase people’s awareness of environmental and health issues. In each district a committee runs the waste collecting system. The committee hires people who remove every day bins set in streets and empty them in the communal dumpsters. In order to finance the system, the committee raises a fee among the population. The committee plays also an important role in raising awareness of good practices in waste management. ENDA strategy is to empower people to enable them to elaborate their own projects.
Waste Picker Organization
Waste Collectors Association—PLAFCCO (Platform de Comite de Pre-collect des ordures):The waste collectors, supported by ENDA, have organized into a city-level association, legally registered in May 2010, called PLAFCCO. The organization is divided into five committees, with more than 50 members each, for a total of around 400 members. Each committees collects the fees, pays the expenses (i.e. carts), and offers a monthly salary to the collectors (approx. 30.000 to 50.000 Ariary; US $14/24). The same collectors segregate the recyclable materials, both at source (while doing the door-to-door collection), and at the transfer station. From the selling of these materials, they can earn an extra 1.000/1.5000 Ariary per day, meaning around 30.000/45.000 Ariary per month. Therefore the monthly income of waste collectors is about 60.000/100.000 Ariary (US $28 to $48). This income is below the minimum salary in the country, meaning it provides a livelihood to their families, but they can hardly buy anything else, apart from food. The waste pickers’ income is even lower, as it only depends on the selling of recyclable materials. Both waste pickers and waste collectors sell the recyclable waste to junk dealers, which end up in the recycling markets of the city. Their working conditions are generally very difficult. For instance, they lack proper tools and infrastructure. For example, waste collectors face difficulties in displacing considerable amounts of waste only with the manual carts. PLAFCCO has now been able to organize the waste collectors, but intend to include waste pickers in the near future. The organization advocates for improving their working conditions, like obtaining health insurance. They also plan to expand the door-to-door collection to the entire city. The beneficiaries would be both the households and the waste pickers. The former benefit from an improved waste management, while the later obtain better employment opportunities, with a regular salary that would complement their revenue from selling recyclables.