In the face of the pork barrel scam that has recently shaken the country, Luzon-based waste pickers unite today to bewail corruption as a dagger driven right into their hearts, trampling on their rights for social recognition and legal protection as unsung heroes of the environment.
SAFAI SENA: If they pick waste, they must be thieves — the daily struggles of a waste picker in Delhi
Manwara, a waste picker, has been in Delhi since her childhood. She chose this work to add to her husband’s income who is also a waste picker. Recently, Manwara’s dream turned ugly when her innocent children were blamed for a theft that happened in the nearby area. She was unaware that her being waste picker would make her so vulnerable to being accused, harassed, and suffers violence openly.
Currently wastepickers have to deal with this waste as part of household waste that they collect and also when they are picking from containers, dumps and landfills. In the recent years the amounts of this waste is also rising rapidly. As you can imagine handling this waste with their bare hands is particularly degrading and can impact the health of women who can have a compromised immune system from malnutrition and hardships.
On July 26, Safai Sena sent letters to New Delhi’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare in the Women and Child Department and the Delhi Commission for Women detailing what happened to the Safai Sena waste picker and her son on July 19 and calling for a number of actions and reforms. (the letters were written by Jai Prakash Choudhary, Safai Sena secretary)
This petition — a joint effort of the MNCR (National waste pickers’ movement of Brazil) along with other social movements and groups — supports a bill that would stop to incineration of solid waste in the state Minas Gerais, Brazil. If this bill were approved it would support recycling collection based on solidarity — a system developed and pioneered by the waste pickers.
SWaCH’s “Send it Back” Campaign Fights for Proper Disposal of Used Sanitary Napkins to Protect Waste Pickers’ Health
SWaCH waste pickers’ cooperative began bringing attention to a little known but very important issue more than two years ago: the proper disposal of used sanitary napkins. After sending numerous requests to manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers and receiving no response, SWaCH came up with a last resort. The cooperative collected used sanitary napkins and sent them back in boxes to the companies’ corporate offices as a gift on International Women’s Day to make them experience firsthand what waste pickers undergo while handling such waste.
United in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the waste picking profession – 160 delegates from the 17 member countries of RED LACRE and RED NICA along with four countries representing 40 supporters – we have had had the opportunity to assemble with the purpose of dialoguing, debating, and sharing: