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


Country India

April 26, 2012

Check translation:

Pune 25th April 2012 

A two day Consultation on Integrating Waste pickers in Solid Waste Management concluded today. In a unique effort, the Consultation brought together 21 municipal officials from 17 municipalities and 300 waste picker delegates on a common platform. The Consultation was organised by the Alliance of Indian Waste pickers. Representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Urban Poverty Alleviation also attended the Consultation. In addition waste picker delegates from Argentina, Bangaladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay also attended the Consultation. They were impressed with the work of SWaCH but also congratulated the two municipalities for their committment to reduce waste by integrating wastepickers and developing decentralized methods of disposal. In other models that were shared during the day, representative of Philippines said they had developed large Material Recovery Centers near landfills where wastepickers could work in hygeinic and improved conditions. Many municipalities like Kanpur and New Delhi shared their user fee models where anywhere from Rs 30-50 was charged per household. Bangalore had issued I Cards to wastepickers and were keen to consider wastepicker integration despite a fully privatized model. New Delhi Municipal Council had provided rickshaws to waste volunteers.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary, Mr.Ratnakar Gaikwad, sent out a message to all waste pickers and officials from urban local bodies, on this occassion. He said, “large numbers of informal workers in Maharashtra earn their livelihoods from the collection, grading and sale of recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, metal and glass. They are self employed and carry out the work without remuneration from the municipality in extremely difficult conditions. They are treated as criminals and nuisance by municipalities and citizens who often do not understand that waste pickers are actually helping to keep the cities clean.” He referred to the convergence between poverty alleviation and solid waste management and said that municipalities can help waste pickers by making them an integral part of the solid waste management; providing collection equipment; providing space and constructing sheds for sorting and storing recyclables and providing social protection measures for waste pickers”.

Alex a waste collector from Brazil said he had travelled from so far, many hours in the plane across continents, to find that the problems of waste pickers in Brazil and India were pretty much the same. Norha a wastepicker representative from Columbia said the improvement in the lives of wastepickers were obvious.

The highlight of the consultation however were the Solid waste management models presented by PMC by Dr. Ketaki Ghatge – Zonal Medical officer and Mr Chavan from PCMC. Shree Suresh Jagtap, Joint Commissioner, answered questions by the many delegates about issuance of I Cards to wastepickers, medical insurance and advantages for the PMC. He said “swach recovers close to 150 tons daily. This saves the municipality transport costs.” There were discussions on the scalability and future of the Pune model lauded for the participation of citizens. A National Chemical Laboratory Manager summed it up by saying “it is our waste and we must spend on proper disposal. I am so happy that we at NCL we have created a model which has become a role model for others.” When questioned about the expensive Organic Waste Convertor they have installed he smiled and said “there is NO cost option available – it is to compost at the household level.”

On the 25th, the delegates visited the field to see the work of including door step collection, composting, biogas plants many of which are maintained by KKPKP members and scrap shops run by KKPKP in Pimpri on five different routes including Yerawada and Dhole Patil wards, Ghole road and Sahakarnagar, Aundh ward, Warje and Karvenagar wards and Bibbewadi and Dhankawadi – especially the zero waste ward of Katraj where corporator Vasant More himself explained the model.

During the discussions held at the end of the visits, wastepickers from aurangabad, ahmedabad, bangalore all said that they all hoped for similar working conditions and especially support and respect that Pune wastepickers have enjoyed.

For further information please contact Malati Gadgil 9158007062 or Lakshmi Narayan 9765999497