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

Voices of waste pickers is a collaborative project, to amplify the voices of waste pickers across the globe. Co-produced by the community, the audio series gives you a glimpse into the lives of the informal workers, discuss important policy related issues related to the informal waste sector and talk about their struggle. One of the objectives of the project is to make information available in audio format for those who can not read.

The website at is the centerpiece of the project where all the radio shows and contents are hosted and distributed.

The project is a collaborative effort with the participation of Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz, Hasiru Dala and the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (

You can listen to the first episode, interview with waste picker Zarina from Bangalore, or to the Voices of waste workers.

Radio shows are recorded in multiple languages: English, Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ) and Hindi/Urdu (हिन्दुस्तानी, ہندوستانی).

Pinky Chandran, director of Radio Active and promoter of this initiative, has written this poem for the occasion:

Waste picker Rising. By Pinky Chandran

So what if I am a waste picker,
On the never ending road, where no one walks…

So what if I am a waste picker
Walking on a cold street,
Lonesome, yet proud

So what if I am a waste picker
I am the one treading my own path
Reaching out for the scraps, so carelessly tossed out

So what if I an a waste picker
With bruised hands, hoarded tears,
Pained silences, vacant thoughts and fatigued feet
I am the one lifting, stirring, picking,changing and cleaning…

So what if I am a waste picker…
I rise with every fall
I rise with very obstacle
I rise through your dominance
I rise through your ignorance
I rise through your caste based hypocrisy and discrimination
I rise through the depths of a hollow marriage
I rise through the myopic vision of the authorities calling shots on the city’s waste management
I rise through the names you call me
I rise through the mixed waste you throw out
I rise with every spent energies and rigid stances

I strive, I soar, I push, I rise,
For I have a voice
I have a name, I am who I am
I am the waste picker, charting new frontiers


  1. It is only when garbag
    is strewn all over
    it is called ‘Waste’
    When ‘Waste’ is collected by those caring hands
    I call it ‘Taste.’
    Taste of caring and curing ‘Waste’ to ‘Best’
    Voices which are muffled in cleaning our ‘Waste’;
    They whimper under the dumps – The crusaders…
    whose name we know not, voices we hear not,
    yet the garbage is lifted by the Santa’s of all seasons!

    Comment by GRACESITHARAMAN — March 4, 2017 @ 9:41 am