In this video taken at the Waste and Citizenship Festival in France, Roberto Prates Reis, a representative of the National Movement of Waste Pickers in Brazil (MNCR) talks about the struggle of the “biffins” of Paris to defend their livelihood.
The event “beyond the recycling, the work of waste pickers!”, that took place on last Saturday, September 21, was a resounding success! The Valoristes, a solidarity cooperative, that organized the event, managed to recuperate and divert 24,500 containers from landfills!
In this video taken at the Waste and Citizenship Festival in France, Roberto Prates Reis, National Movement of Waste Pickers (MNCR), talks about the reality of waste pickers (called “biffins”) in France, and compares them to similar struggles in Brazil.
On August 31st, the Latin American Waste Pickers’ Network wrapped up a week of meetings and activities held in Santiago, Chile (Aug. 25-31). The final activity consisted of a visit to informal recyclers of the dumpsite known as Vertedero Los Molles, in Valparaíso.
Waste pickers’ associations from seven cities in Bolivia that participated in the second national conference, marched to demand the passage of a law that recognizes them as workers and gives them the right to social security benefits.
On September 14, Costa Rican waste pickers hosted their First Waste Pickers Conference, in the city of San Jose. More than 100 recicladores from around the country participated, according to the newspaper La Nación. Their stated objective is to dignify the livelihoods of the families that collect recyclables.
A report from the WIEGO/FIWON organizing project in Nigeria, which is in its final phase, says progress is being made in the seven target cities of the project. Meetings among waste pickers became regular with some centers holding meetings once or twice a month.
The young, uniformed cartoneros caught the attention of passersby in the crowd not only because of the size of the group – 35 – but because of the worker’s uniform they wore for the pilgrimage. It consists of dark blue pants and jackets lined with neon green strips for visibility. It clearly marked them as workers. The members of the MTE stood out for another reason. They conveyed a seriousness that was in contrast to the many of the chatty, smart phone-carrying teenagers. They are young workers, and they seem older than their years.
Quezon City waste pickers call fellow workers, government, and society to action in their Unity Statement
On the occasion of the “Waste Picker Regional Training and Consultation”, held on September 3, 2013 in Quezon City, Philippines, we stand committed and united in mind, voice, and action to attain our dreams and aspirations of a better situation and livelihood, that we may rise above our poverty and ensure a better future for our children.
La cooperativa El Álamo está formada por 60 cartoneros que recuperan materiales reciclables por un total de 200 toneladas por mes, evitando que estos materiales vayan al relleno sanitario. El Gobierno de la Ciudad de Bs.As. planea construir en un mes un túnel bajo nivel reduciendo las dimensiones del actual lugar hasta convertirlo en un sitio inutilizable para la tarea que realiza la cooperativa.
A Montevideo bill proposed for January 2014 would create “exclusionary zones” where waste pickers and their horse-drawn carts would not be allowed to enter. The bill involves not only the exclusion of waste pickers but the privatization of recyclables only accessible to so-called “authorized” parties.
The National Waste Pickers’ Movement of Brazil (MNCR) participated on July 31st in the launch of the third edition of Cataforte, a federal program whose purpose is to strengthen waste pickers’ organizations. The objective is the restructuring of waste pickers’ networks and associations so that these solidary networks become more capable of performing recycling service for municipalities, as well as to become involved in reverse logistics (producer responsibility) and begin to commercialize their recyclable materials, with the goal of reaching 35 networks.
Davao City waste pickers call fellow workers, government, and society to action in their Unity Statement
On the occasion of the “Waste Picker Regional Training and Consultation”, held from July 30-31, 2013 at the UCCP Shalom Center, Davao City, we stand committed and united in mind, voice, and action to attain our dreams and aspirations of a better situation and livelihood, that we may rise above our poverty and ensure a better future for our children.
“Amidst incessantly growing joblessness, the government should uphold pro-poor projects and legislations that will improve occupational health and safety of waste pickers, secure their employment and encourage more unemployed Filipinos to enter the recycling industry,” said Thomas Kellenberger, Founding President of the Philippine Island Kids International Foundation, Inc.
Cebu City waste pickers call fellow workers, government, and society to action in their Unity Statement
On the occasion of this meeting, dubbed “Waste Picker Regional Training and Consultation”, July 24-25 at the University of Cebu, Banilad, Cebu City, we stand committed and united in mind, voice, and action to attain our dreams and aspirations of a better situation and livelihood, that we may rise above our poverty and ensure a better future for our children.
On May 15 and 16, 2013 over 400 people attended the Joburg Waste Summit, hosted by the Johannesburg Council and its waste management company Pikitup. The Council and Pikitup urgently need to find ways to minimize waste going to landfill, and the Summit was called to explore how to do this. WIEGO and SAWPA argued that landfill reclaimers need to be included in all discussions and new recycling initiatives.
From June 19th to the 21st, the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) held its national meeting in Johannesburg. 80 waste pickers who are serving as landfill coordinators attended, from all over the country. There were seven waste picker leaders from different provinces. Facilitators from three organizations were there to support the meeting. “There has been progress since the mid-2000s,” said Musa Chamane, a waste campaign manager with GroundWork, an organization that works closely with SAWPA. “Conditions have been slowly changing for the better.”
Lack of access to education is one of the many struggles that waste pickers and their children have endured, coupled by the pressure to drop out of school for lack of financial resources. While there has been a law in place since 1977 that designates educational support for the children of parents who perform “unclean” occupations, government officials have created barriers and made things difficult for waste pickers.
MNCR (Brazil’s national waste pickers’ movement) pledges its continual support of the protests happening across Brazil for concrete goals of social and environmental justice but explains why it’s important to keep informed and aware about conservative, elitist and prejudiced groups that have been trying to appropriate the protests to promote their own interests, with the backing of and manipulation by the Brazilian elite and the media monopoly.
DSS, an NGO based in Ujjain, India organized a waste pickers’ convention in June. The organizers reported that the feedback from the participants was very positive. Many said it was the first time they had participated in something like this and it boosted their confidence to have a government official in their midst interacting with them respectfully.