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

January 12, 2016

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This letter with suggestions for the inclusion of waste picker in Solid Waste Management Rules was sent to the Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change of India by the Alliance of Indian Waste pickers.

Inclusion of waste-pickers in proposed Solid Waste Management Rules

Date: January 6th, 2016.

To: Shri Prakash Javadekar
Honourable Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change
Government of India

Dear Sir

We are appreciative of the fact that you have been emphasizing on the role played by waste-pickers in solid waste management (SWM). We request you to pursue the path of their inclusion by ensuring the acknowledgement of the role played by informal waste pickers (including itinerant waste-buyers) and informal waste recyclers (scrap traders, re-processors etc.) in reducing and managing solid waste as well as contributing to socially inclusive, cost effective and environmentally sustainable waste management systems in proposed solid waste management rules.

Listed below are suggestions from the members of Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers for additions to the draft SWM Rules with respect to recognition and integration of informal waste-pickers and waste recyclers:

  1. Waste-pickers and informal waste recyclers should be identified, registered, authorised and integrated into the solid waste management system by local governments. Thereby, should be recognized and identified as green collar workers.
  2. Occupational Identity cards should be issued to waste-pickers by the local/Municipal governments with the involvement of waste-pickers’ collective.
  3. Sorting (secondary segregation/ fine segregation) should be recognized as a crucial activity in SWM. Space for sorting and temporary storage of recyclables should be made available for waste-pickers in a decentralized manner.
  4. Waste-pickers should be afforded free and easy access to recyclables at source of generation as well as at secondary storage, material recovery, transfer, processing and disposal facilities.
  5. Introduce a comprehensive EPR policy under both Municipal Solid Waste and Plastic Waste Management rules to tackle difficult streams of waste such as sanitary waste, multi-layered packaging etc. and providing support to waste-pickers in collecting and diverting low value recyclables.
  6. Manufacturers of sanitary products like diapers, sanitary napkins etc. should be required to provide uniquely marked leak proof bags for the safe disposal of each individual product.
  7. Waste-pickers should be allowed to retain the waste collected by them.
  8. State and local governments should promote integration of waste-pickers into solid waste management systems by:
    1. Incentivizing formation of membership based organisations of waste-pickers including self- help groups, cooperatives, unions and companies.
    2. Preference for integration into door-to-door collection and processing facilities
    3. Authorize waste pickers to collect user fee from the beneficiaries of their services
    4. Handing over management of material recovery and other waste processing facilities to collectives of waste-pickers.
    5. Training and capacity building of waste-pickers in fine sorting, composting, bio-methanation and scrap shops management
    6. Provision of safety equipment, social security and health benefits to waste-pickers, including inclusion in housing schemes, food and security measures (for their children) as priority.
  9. National, State and Local policies/ strategies/ plans should be made in consultation with waste-pickers and their organisations.
  10. Waste-pickers should be involved in monitoring and advisory committees.
  11. Viability gap funding, tax concessions, credit at low rate of interest etc. should be made available to participants in the informal waste recycling sector.

We hope that our suggestions will be considered for the inclusion in the rules and we believe that under your leadership waste-pickers and informal recyclers will get the due recognition for their work.

Yours Sincerely,

Members of the Alliance of Indian Wastepickers

Alliance of Indian Wastepickers is a national coalition of organizations working with waste-pickers and other informal waste workers. The alliance was created to have coordinated efforts to ensure inclusion of waste pickers in various national level programmes. Undersigned organizations/members of alliance represent more than 25000 waste-pickers and other informal waste-pickers in India.

Members endorsing Alliance of Indian Wastepickers suggestions:

  • All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh, Delhi
  • All India Kachra Shramik Mahasangh, Delhi & Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh
  • Asangthit Shramik Mahila Sanghthan, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
  • Bal Vikas Dhara, Delhi
  • Chintan Environment Research and Action Group, Delhi
  • Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), on behalf of the Initiative on Waste, Informal Workers and Chennai’s Future, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • Dalit Bahujan Resource Center, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
  • Dronacharya Sikshan Sansthan, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
  • Hasiru Dala, Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Jan Vikas Society, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
  • Kachra Kamagar Union, Delhi
  • Kagad Kanch Patra Kamgar Sanghatana, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  • Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha, Mumbai and Thane, Maharashtra
  • Parisar Sakhi Vikas Sangathana, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Safai Sena, Delhi
  • Sarvodya Shramik Mahila Sahkari Sanstha, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
  • Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai, Kalyan and Buldana
  • SwaCH, Pune, Maharashtra
  • Waste Wise Trust, Bengaluru, Karnataka