For the past 22 years, the waste pickers of Colombia have been fighting for recognition of their work. “There are no borders for those who fight,” is the slogan that symbolizes the struggle of the more than 15 million waste pickers, who are facing global threats – against their lives, organization and towards the environment.
Here is a video of the Goldman Prize acceptance speech of Nohra Padilla, informal recycler and leader of the Colombian waste pickers’ movement. As part of the Goldman Prize, Padilla and other supporters of inclusive waste management (including the director of the Bogotá solid waste management department) were taken on a tour of San Francisco’s Zero Waste program. See the gallery of photos in this post. Also, Nohra Padilla is also scheduled to meet with President Obama. More on that soon!
This video discusses Auto 275, a Bogotá law meant to protect waste pickers’ rights as public service providers and to guarantee payment. It led to the court order that resulted in the organized waste pickers of Bogotá receiving priority as service providers and receiving payment for the first time. Auto 275 is explained via interviews conducted by a Bogotá waste picker with government authorities. The version with English subtitles is coming soon!
There is an army of waste pickers in the streets of New York, collecting cans and bottles. In New York, they are called “canners.” They can sell cans and bottes to middlemen for a few cents there. For the unemployed of the wealthiest city in the United States, it’s a growing profession.