The updates we publish in this newsletter are by waste pickers and allies. Sometimes we re-post directly from what individuals or groups have shared via social media, websites or emails; sometimes we edit, organize and translate. The goal is to disseminate information from waste pickers across borders. As usual, we invite waste pickers’ organizations and allies to keep sending updates of their struggles and victories. We want to make this information-sharing platform more inclusive and participatory! This process is supported by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.
If you want to be part of the editorial committee or learn how to post your own updates on globalrec.org please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear waste pickers and allies,
We are happy to share with you the 17th issue of “Struggles and Victories: Waste Pickers on the Frontline”. This time, we have news from March 1st, our International Waste-picker Day, this year with participation from organizations in the global north among other countries. And there’s a lot more!
Lucia and Pablo
WIEGO Communications support team for GlobalRec.org
Table of Contents
- Launching Voices of Waste Pickers radio show
- Health and Dignity to Waste pickers & Recylers! Join the Red Dot Campaign!
- 2016 A Benchmark Year for Wastepickers in India
- Vijaywada Municipal Corporation Issues Occupational Identity Cards to Wastepickers
- Hasiru Dala turns 3!
- The criminalization of street waste pickers in Brazil: a human rights crisis
- Rally in Bogota for the global waste pickers’ day
- Listen to the voices of Waste pickers at Expocatadores 2016
Global waste picker day 2017: Recycling in our hands (03/01/2016)
It is with great pleasure that we are sharing with all the recycling community and allies the different campaigns and demonstrations taking place today march 1st, international waste-pickers day. This year we have from poems and radio shows in India, to gratitude campaigns in Colombia and much more! Wishing all waste-pickers an excellent day of struggle, victories and commemorations.
Hashtag 2017: #RecicladoenNuestrasManos
A global hashtag to unify the campaign in the different social media. You can see a photo gallery with images from waste-pickers all over the world holding the global message for this year.
Global: Video manifest
Collaborative video for the global campaign “Recycling in our hands” coordinated by Argentinian Federation of Waste-pickers with videos from Colombia, Ecuador, New York, Paris and support from Globalrec.
Brasil: life stories by catadores
Two 2 life stories for the Life and voices section of the globalrec.org website written by Gilberto Chagas, waste-pickers from the MNCR.
Redlacre: #SoyReciclador #souCatador
Redlacre and lots of its WPs leaders (from Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Brazil mostly) are posting several pictures from its history and daily fights with hashtag #I am a recycler all over their facebook accounts.
The local tv in Bogota Colombia (CityTV) has launched a campaign #ThankstoYOUrecycler, where journalist, singers and other public figures thanks for the daily work of wastepickers. You can see in twitter and the video showing some of the examples.
Petition from Ecuador (GAIA) to support waste pickers
GAIA member has launched an Online petition to support waste-pickers in Ecuador due to displacement of their working space at the Portoviejo landfill. You can support them by sign it!
WIEGO: special blogspot and infographic
Sonia Dias, WIEGO waste-picker sector specialist has prepared a special blog post: “Four strategies to integrate waste pickers into future cities” . There would be also a new wastepicker infographic to get launched on WIEGO facebook page and in this tweet.
Launching Voices of Waste Pickers radio show (India) by Hasiru Dala, radio Active and Pablo Rey
Voices of waste pickers is a collaborative project, to amplify the voices of waste pickers across the globe. Co-produced by the community, the audio series gives you a glimpse into the lives of the informal workers, discuss important policy related issues related to the informal waste sector and talk about their struggle. One of the objectives of the project is to make information available in audio format for those who can not read. The website at WPvoices.globalrec.org is the centerpiece of the project where all the radio shows and contents are hosted and distributed. The project is a collaborative effort with the participation of Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz, Hasiru Dala and the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (globalrec.org). You can listen to the first episode, interview with waste picker Zarina from Bangalore, or to the Voices of waste workers. Radio shows are recorded in multiple languages: English, Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ) and Hindi/Urdu (हिन्दुस्तानी, ہندوستانی).
Health and Dignity to Waste pickers & Recylers! Join the Red Dot Campaign! (India) by SWaCH Members (02/08/2017)
Today, Pune’s SWaCH wastepicker cooperative, the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtkari Panchayat (KKPKP) waste-picker trade union and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) kicked off a massive, city-wide “Red Dot” campaign to improve the way that residents dispose of their sanitary waste (diapers and sanitary napkins). Waste-picker groups and volunteers are using their creativity to request that people securely wrap their sanitary waste in newspaper and mark it with a red dot. SWaCH is rolling their Red Dot message all across town by stencil painting Red Dot imaging to the sides of SWaCH pushcarts. Keep your eye out for the newly adorned carts, as volunteers and children of waste pickers have already begun painting. Contact SWaCH if you would like to get involved! Today the campaign launched a startling but charming one minute Red Dot video, which is being shared via Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube and the SWaCH website (www.swachcoop.com). Visit SWaCH’s Facebook page today to check it out.
2016 A Benchmark Year for Wastepickers in India by Kabir Arora (12/28/2016)
2016 has been quite a remarkable year and will be remembered as a benchmark period in the struggle of wastepickers for recognition. This year for the first time, updated solid and plastic waste management rules notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) prescribed integration of wastepickers and informal waste collectors in solid waste management in clear and precise terms. Municipal corporations in cities like Mysore, Tumkur, Indore, Panvel, Vishakhapatnam and Vijaywada have all issued ID cards to wastepickers. Moreover, in recently guidelines for Swachh Bharat Survekshan, 2017 (Clean Indian Survey, 2017) issued by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) up to 29 marks have been allotted and will be given to municipal corporations for identifying, enumerating and integrating wastepickers in waste management of 70 percent of its wards and by issuing occupational ID cards. Besides that, in July- August, 2016, the National Safai Karmachari Finance & Development Corporation NSKFDC (a wholly owned Govt. of India undertaking under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment –MoSJE) included wastepickers as its beneficiaries and allocated 10 percent of its budget for up-skilling of wastepickers and to provide cheap credit facility. On the other hand, 2016 included its own set of unique challenges. Government of India took decision of demonetizing higher value currency notes (i.e. INR 500 and 1000 Notes). This has impacted informal workforce, and many of us are still busy in finding solutions. In the coming years, we must commit ourselves to the campaign of social security for informal workers and pursue the ‘Right to Social Security’ to become a justiciable right. In addition to that questions of housing, education, skill-building, nutritious food, clean environment all need answers preferably sooner than later.
Vijaywada Municipal Corporation Issues Occupational Identity Cards to Wastepickers (India) by Kabir Arora (12/21/2016)
Vijaywada Municipal Corporation issued occupational identity cards (IDs) to the waste pickers. Vijaywada is first city in Andhra Pradesh (India) to do so. In the days to come the number will reach the approved figure of 486. This was done after consistent efforts made by Dalit Bahujan Resource Center (DBRC). Indore, Mysuru, Panvel and Tumakuru are other four cities which have issued ID cards to wastepickers this year. Municipal authorities are showing urgency in issuing ID as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Campaign) guidelines mandate integration of waste pickers in solid waste management and allotted 29 marks for issuance of occupational IDs to waste pickers for the upcoming Swachh Bharat survey next year. The issuance of cards has been a long pending demand of Alliance of Indian Wastepickers and its members. It has also been prescribed in Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. It is a pleasure to see it unfolding smoothly.
Hasiru Dala turns 3! (India) by Kabir Arora (11/26/2016)
It is our immense pleasure to inform you that Hasiru Dala, the foundations of which were laid together by waste pickers and informal waste collectors of Bangalore, completes 3 years today (26th November, 2016). It has been an arduous, adventurous and fulfilling journey. In these 3 years, the organization has grown leaps and bounds, and it would not have been possible without all your support. Hasiru Dala is more than 7500-member strong organization, initially stationed in Bangalore, it has expanded to adjoining cities and districts of Mysore, Tumakuru and Nelamangala. There are plans to move in other parts of Karnataka and India. During its past 3 years of work, Hasiru Dala has been innovating services and business models that leverage wastepickers’ expertise and entrepreneurship, generating stable livelihoods in the process. Key Highlights of past 3 years:
- Over 7500 members issued identity cards by the BBMP, a result of advocacy by Hasiru Dala, first time in India.
- Educational scholarships processed for over 400 children of wastepickers
- Health camps organized that covered approximately 2000 wastepickers
- Procured RSBY Health Insurance coverage for 1850 families
- Enabled opening of bank accounts for over 400 members
- Enabled Aadhaar enrollment over 400 wastepickers
- Managerial assistance to 33 Dry Waste Collection Centres run by wastepickers / scrap dealers
- Research and documentation on waste informal economy
- Policy advocacy along with citizen groups that led to the formulation of segregation at source rule and the decision to have bulk generators manage their own waste
- Two members of Hasiru Dala, Mansoor and Indira represented wastepickers and informal waste collectors in international forums like Climate Change Negotiations, 2014 in Paris, France and Habitat Prepcom negotiations in Surabaya, Indonesia respectively.
- Innovated a decentralized, technology-enabled, franchisee driven waste management model that gives opportunities to entrepreneur wastepickers for asset creation.
- Launched urban organic gardening services to citizens
- Developing a value-added delivery network of wastepickers
- Operated City’s 5 Bio gas unit from December 2013 to November 2015
- Managing city’s Organic Waste Converter for last 3 years
- Awards: Karnataka State Environment Award, 2016; Rotary Service Award, 2016
The criminalization of street waste pickers in Brazil: a human rights crisis (Brazil) by Manuel Rosaldo (03/19/2017)
Porto Alegre became the first Brazilian city to legally recognize a waste picker organization (1986), inaugurated the first public recycling route and warehouse in Brazil to include waste pickers (1990) and became the first capital of a Brazilian state to ban incineration, a policy that protects both the environment and the livehoods of waste pickers (2016). But unfortunately, last Friday, it became also the first Brazilian City to ban the use of pushcarts, criminalizing the work of thousands of street waste pickers and threatening the survival of over 7,000 vulnerable families who eke out a living from street waste picking, in the midst of record-breaking unemployment. Attempts to criminalize street waste pickers are commonplace throughout the world. Often, powerful economic interests lie behind such efforts, but also many people may support laws due to honest misunderstandings about waste pickers and their role in society. Therefore, in this article, the author challenge 10 common myths about Waste Pickers: 1. Street waste pickers provide little benefit to Society, 2. “Modern” cities do not have street waste pickers, 3. Waste pickers are not efficient, 4. Street waste pickers cause traffic, 5. Waste pickers abuse animals, 6. Waste pickers are delinquents and criminals, 7. Waste picker cooperatives have resolve the “problem” of street recycling, 8. Street waste picking is just about the worse profession that exists, 9. It is not possible to improve work Standards of waste pickers who work on the street, and 10. Waste picking is a source of vulnerability.
Rally in Bogota for the global waste pickers’ day (Colombia) by Federico Parra
More than 4.000 recyclers marched today, March 1st, 2017, in Bogota led by the Association of Recyclers of Bogota (Asociación de Recicladores de Bogotá) in commemoration of the global waste picker´s day, and demanding to the authorities the total and complete fulfillment of the orders of recognition and remuneration of waste pickers as providers of the public service of treatment of waste. Orders issued by the Colombian Constitutional Court in defense of the rights of waste pickers.
From 28-30 November 2016, informal recyclers from Brazil hosted the international event Expocatadores in which they invited Latin American and European recyclers to join them in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the National Movement of Pickers of Recyclables (MNCR). Here you can watch videos waste pickers from Nohra Padilla and Silvio Ruiz from Colombia, Samuel Samzao from France, Exequiel Estay from Chile, Sérgio Sanchez and Victor Carborral from Argentina talking about challenges and threats faced by these workers in their respective countries.
A massive fire in Mbeubeuss landfill, Dakar (Senegal) by Adama Soumaré
The Mbeubeuss garbage dump has again caught fire. This December 22, 2016, the fire caused enormous devastation and, in the unanimous opinion of waste pickers, both male and female, such a disaster fire has not seen since they started working in the dump in 1968. The entire village of Baol, the second and largest area of the dump site, was consumed. The consequences are enormous. To date, 3 people, including a woman, have lost their lives and others are reported missing. The President of the Local Development Committee and municipal councilor of Malika, present on the scene, looking sad and dejected, cannot find her little brother who works and spends the night in the dump. Women, men and young people seemed confused and did not know what to do in the face of this catastrophe. The causes of the fire are yet unknown. However, some waste pickers are already pointing the finger at the Waste Coordination and Management Unit (UCG) set up by the State of Senegal, accusing it of having practices that favor some people since it has created uncontrolled mini waste depot platforms and because these beneficiaries of these platforms often set garbage on fire that creates the seat for major fire outbreaks.
Mobilizations in Paris: Reuse and recycling lay in our hands! (France) by Association Amelior (02/06/2017)
Answering the call of the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers , the associations Sauve Qui Peut (biffins at the Gate of Montmartre) and AMELIOR (biffins in Paris, Montreuil, Bagnolet and Ile de France), as well as workers’ associations excluded from the circular, grassroots economy of reuse and recycling Rally on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville on Wednesday March 1, 2017, from 8 am to 6 pm, on Global Waste Pickers’s Day! In solidarity with our comrades in the popular movements of recyclers and waste pickers around the world in our fight against exclusion, poverty and global warming, we will assemble to demand that the elected members of the Council of Paris recognize our professions and end the repressive, criminal and scandalous policies pursued in Paris over the last 10 years. We are not criminals! We are workers! Poverty is not a crime! Repression is a scandal! We are advocating for for a city that is inclusive and will ensure workers have rights! We demand:
- The right to work for all biffins
- A space and a market for all
- The creation of organized spaces dedicated to biffins and buyers, that is 100 spaces in each of the 6 markets in the 6 boroughs at the gates of Paris, 3 days a week
- 10% of spaces be allocated for biffins on flea markets, antique fairs and open food markets in Paris
- Support for biffin organisations
- The recognition and development of the green professions (collection, sorting, recovery, reuse, recycling, sale) of biffins.
- The allocation of premises to biffin associations
- That public authorities take into account current biffin markets and related experiments
- The development of a popular economy and action research
- A circular and grass-roots economy that is resilient
- An end to seizures destruction of materials recovered by biffins
- An end to the use of waste tippers and incineration
Voices from the Ground in Turkey by Sonia Maria Dias
Important developments are taking place in Turkey. Waste pickers once completely invisible are raising their voices and vocalizing their demands by engaging with government agencies with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO). A recent “Workshop on Waste Pickers’ Access to Social Security through Cooperatives” took place in Ankara on 29 July 2016 at the ILO headquarters in that city which was jointly organized by this UN agency and the Ministry of Customs and Trade General Directorate of Cooperatives. With the participation of representatives from ministries, the head of the ILO Cooperatives unit, many municipalities, members of the Association of Street Waste Pickers, and trade unions the event highlighted the role of cooperatives to ensure decent work. We welcome the participants´ agreement that a roadmap for addressing the problems of waste pickers and in creating decent job opportunities is much needed. We hope that this important event will lead to cooperation between sectors so that two of today´s major problems can be tackled: the environmental and the social agenda. Recycling with social inclusion is the way to human and sustainable development. Here are some remarks from Turkish waste pickers: “We have been collecting waste in the streets since our childhood. We are an indispensable part of the waste management system. Without us waste management systems are doing close to nothing in terms of recycling.” “We demand support and incentives from municipalities to exist in waste management regulations.” “We are ready to organize under cooperatives with approximately 2,000 members in Ankara.” ” We want to be free of those judging and disapproving eyes that are fixated on us while collecting waste in the streets.”