The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
Supported by Logo WIEGO


November 13, 2011

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7 – 8 September 2011 Johannesburg

Waste and Climate Change Workshop

How do waste picking jobs link up with threatening climate change? Waste pickers from across South Africa will learn about, and discuss this issue in a three day workshop. Together with waste pickers from India, Latin America, Kenya and Senegal they will prepare for the Cop 17 (international climate change conference) in Durban at the beginning of December. At the workshop they will learn how climate change affects South Africans, Africans and the world. They will hear how their work is extremely important because it is not just a job but is also an important way of protecting the environment.

1 – 2 December 2011 Durban

Waste pickers meeting during COP17

COP 17 begins on 28 November. While this conference is happening waste pickers will have their own meetings.

On 1 December South African waste pickers nationally will meet to discuss the constitution of the South African Waste Pickers Association and also the Code of Conduct for waste pickers on landfill sites and in streets. This is a closed meeting.

The South African Waste Pickers Association was launched in February 2010 and it has drawn up draft principles of the organisation. People will continue to discuss this draft at the December meeting with a view to finalising the constitution in a meeting early next year.

Waste pickers who have participated in setting up the Association see great value in being organised nationally. This means they can speak to government and other national organisations. Simon Mbata, who represents the Association, has for example met with the Institute of Waste Management and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to discuss how they can work together and assist waste pickers.

 On 2 December the meeting will open up to include delegates from waste pickers across the globe from the Interim Global Steering Committee of Waste Pickers. This will include reclaimers from such places as Latin America and India. Delegates will exchange ideas and learn from each other as they join in solidarity.

3 December 2011

COP Day of Action

December 3 is a global day of action. All members of civil society, including the trade unions and environmental organisations, will demonstrate the importance of protecting our planet against disaster. Waste pickers will come out in their numbers to state that they are mitigating the effects of climate change by recycling waste so governments should value them and give them good support and opportunities. They will also show that they are creating important green jobs. Researchers for the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign have shown that the waste picking sector is an important job creator. Waste pickers are no longer invisible.

Photo credit: Melanie Samson.