Written by Hasirudala. 05/23/2014
Recently there was an article/video asking for a ban on waste picking and attacking the organization that is working to organize this section of eco warriors (they retrieve valuables like nobody can), they say waste picking should NOT be formalized. Listen to this lady whose livelihood depends on the waste the city throws.
“I started waste picking when I was 16 years old and now I run a dry waste collection center. In India we are free to do any job. Why would you tell us not to pick waste? 5,000 people work like this. If you do not want 5,000 of us to work as waste pickers, then give us 5,000 jobs with salary. In our country we have the right to do any job except for stealing. I have three children who go to school. Our livelihood is dependent on this job. Why should you ask us to stop? We have been given a card [ID card] and we have started our own organization. Hasirudala is our own organization. Here, there are no managers and we all work together. Why do you call us “scavengers”? Who has given you the right to call us scavengers? The government tells us that we are doing a good job by recycling. We recycle one ton per day. Because of our recycling, a lot of trees have been saved. If we did not pick up waste from the street, everything will be lying around. If they had to collect and transport it all, they would have spent a lot of money. Together, we recycle 1,000 tons per day. If the government had to transport 1,000 tons, how much would they spend? We are saving 83 crores of rupees for the Corporation. They acknowledge and appreciate our work. We would not have gotten the center without the organization. The government says we are doing a good job, so we got a center.”