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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Written by Hasiru Dala

Country India

February 06, 2019

Waste-pickers have written to Municipal Commissioner of Bengaluru to issue all the Dry Waste Collection Centres to waste-pickers for operations and not just the current number of 33 centres. Further, they have asked the municipal authorities to authorize waste-pickers for collection of dry waste from households. They asked for payments to be done on time. The municipal authorities have been back and forth with regards to waste-pickers inclusion. Some interest groups desire the waste-pickers to be excluded from solid waste management system. To counter those interest groups, the waste-pickers have written to the municipal authorities.

The Commissioner
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation).


We the wastepickers and itinerant buyers and small scrap dealers ask and demand that our livelihoods be protected by integrating us into the solid waste management system of the city.

We are listing the reasons why we form skilled labour and how we support the city in keeping it clean and help in resource recovery from garbage and create robust recycling industry in Karnataka and specifically Bangalore Metropolitan city:

1) When the city had a gap in service of door to door collection system, we cleaned the black spots aka corners with accumulated garbage, picked the recyclables thus making resource recovery possible. In a study done in 2011 shown that daily 1050 tons of waste is picked, sorted, aggregated and sent for recycling by us in Bangalore. With our work, we help municipal authorities save 84 crores of rupees annually in just collection and transportation alone.

2) We are thankful to municipal authorities for recognizing our contribution with the issuance of occupational identity cards to us.

3) With better efficiency in the door to door collection of waste. The waste on the streets has reduced. It is a good thing for the city. It has reduced our access to waste and destroyed traditional means to earn our livelihood. We are unable to support our school going children, we are forced to withdraw them from schools. We are going hungry. We want to be a part of the cleaning the city and not completely banished.

4) With the introduction of wastepickers in operations of Dry Waste Collection Centers (DWCCs) and the door to door collection of dry waste, some of us became a part of the system to resolve city’s garbage concerns. Such an initiative of municipal authorities was nationally lauded. Waste-pickers across India were inspired and decided to follow the Bangalore model. Even though only 33 centres have been given to us, yet it is a good start in the right direction. Our work in 33 centres bettered the waste management services, increased segregation levels and ensured materials reach appropriate destination i.e. recycling units. Many citizens vouch for our work. And want the waste-pickers to be included in all the DWCCs in the city. If our payments are not delayed for more than 2 months, we can clean up the city and show a metro city can implement segregation of waste at source. If all DWCCs are issued to waste-pickers for operations, it has the potential of creating more than 2000 new jobs, alternative occupation to waste-pickers and increasing the segregation levels in the city. We have been doing door to door collection in 33 wards and 4, 65,000 households with 73 vehicles and provided jobs to 350 people which include jobs to sorters, helpers and drivers.  From March 2017 to date we have collected about 13460.19 tons of dry waste and from that, we have sent tons of MLP and 1134.67 tons of non-recyclable dry waste( MLP) for co-processing.  Right now we are collecting with 70% efficiency if we get support from the government we can reach up to 100% efficiency.

5) There is an explicit recognition in the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules that waste pickers provide a vital service. In fact, Rule 11(1) (c) specifically calls for the explicit recognition and acknowledgement of the primary role played by waste pickers in reducing waste in India. Further, Rule 15 of the SWM Rules now makes it mandatory for local bodies to formulate broad guidelines and to create a system that facilitates the integration of waste pickers into the waste management system. In the sections on the responsibility of waste generators, the waste generators are asked to give the recyclables to register to waste-pickers. The similar prescription is made in in the Plastic Waste Management Rules. Such provisions are an acknowledgement of the work undertaken in Bengaluru, putting the theoretical framework of the rules in practice.

6) The inclusion of wastepickers in solid waste management not just increases the efficiency of the system. It satisfies the goals of social justice and poverty alleviation. All these are the areas listed as responsibilities of urban local bodies in the constitution of India. The Karnataka High Court order on December 16th, 2016 has a reference of wastepickers be given recyclables by the households.

With this background given, we ask for the following:

We, the members of Hasiru Dala and CCRA (Clean City Recyclers association) representing 8000 wastepickers, itinerant waste buyers, small scrap dealers of Bangalore city ask the following:

  • Continuing issuance of occupational identity cards to wastepickers as prescribed by recently notified Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Issuance of occupational identity cards to scrap dealers and other informal waste collectors.
  • All the DWCCs be issued to waste-pickers for operations. All DWCCs operated by waste-pickers be authorized to do door to door collection of dry waste.
  • Timely payment for the driver, helper and vehicle maintenance, engaged in door to door collection of dry waste.
  • Create a safe and secure market place for scrap business.
  • Set up a committee for guiding and monitoring efficient solid waste management in the city as prescribed by rules and Swachh Bharat guidelines and include representatives of the wastepickers organization in the same.
  • Facilitate viability gap funding to support micro-enterprises of wastepickers and informal waste collectors to expand their business as a part of National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).

We look forward to your continued support in our struggle and we hope that you would champion our cause at the municipal level to bring the changes that we would aspire for.

Contact number: Hasiru Dala: +917829777737


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