The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
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May 01, 2012

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In the final day of the First Global Workshop of Waste Pickers, representatives from 26 countries wrapped up their session. The workshop has been held in Pune at Yashada April 24-30.

The representatives discussed the threats that waste pickers across the globe are facing. They came to the conclusion that the main threats are corrupt governments that are privatizing public services.

Big multinational corporations are also often against the interest of waste pickers. Waste pickers perform a public service, collecting recyclable materials and protecting the environment.

One of the other threats that was identified by the global delegation of waste pickers was incineration – the burning of waste.

“Waste-to-energy is being sold to governments as an environmentally clean solution,” Neil Tangri, of the Global Alliance of Incinerator Alternatives, said. “But what’s going to burn is paper, cardboard and plastics. The very things that are recyclable.”

“Incineration burns the recyclable materials, generating toxic pollution behind,” said Alex Cardoso, a waste picker from Porto Alegre, Brazil. “That means more drilling for oil and other virgin materials.”

The global workshop began with waste pickers from around the world visiting the SWaCH Cooperative door-to-door collection system and the KKPKP union scrap yard.

Waste pickers learned about biogas technology and composting projects that they can take home to their countries. The waste pickers agreed to organize themselves locally and work towards forming national alliances.

May 1: Labour Day + Maharashtra

The global workshop is over but will be followed by an action tomorrow, May 1, which is celebrated around the world over as Labor Day and additionally as Maharashtra Day. KKPKP and SWACH invite our brothers and sisters from across the world to join us in 2 programs.

SWaCH has been working since a year with PMC and other Civil Society Organisations in Pune, to create a ‘Zero Waste’ ward. Based on the success of this initiative the ruling party that has recently been elected to power after the municipal elections plans to launch this initiative in 15 more wards. The formal inauguration of this program is also on 1st May at 9.30 am. Please do join us in expressing our unequivocal support for truly decentralized initiatives like this.

For more information, contact:

Laxmi Narayan, Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers


Deia de Brito

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, Communication