The updates we publish in this newsletter are by waste pickers and allies. Sometimes we re-post directly from what individuals or groups have shared via social media, websites or emails; sometimes we edit, organize and translate. The goal is to disseminate information from waste pickers across borders. As usual, we invite waste pickers’ organizations and allies to keep sending updates of their struggles and victories. We want to make this information-sharing platform more inclusive and participatory! This process is supported by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.
If you want to be part of the editorial committee or learn how to post your own updates on globalrec.org please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear waste pickers and allies,
We are happy to share with you the 20th issue of “Struggles and Victories: Waste Pickers on the Frontline”.
WIEGO Communications support team for GlobalRec.org
Table of Contents
- Talking Gender: Waste-pickers Children Open Discussions on Love, Marriage & Bullying (India)
- Waste-pickers Demand Inclusion in Social Welfare Measures, Access to Housing and Dignity (India)
- Bengaluru’s Dry Waste Collection Centres Are Not Being Paid for Their Work (India)
- The Manual for Social Entitlements for Waste Pickers is out by Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (India)
- Alliance of Indian Waste pickers announces their 3 Month Fellowship (India)
- Waste pickers in Brazil fight for their workplace (Brazil)
- Waste pickers camp in Sao Paulo for the right to decent housing (Brazil)
- March for improvement of waste pickers working conditions in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- Call from RENAREC to stop the removal of the redeemable tax on plastic bottles (IRBP) (Ecuador)
- Waste pickers manage to suspend the law on waste incineration in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- Waste pickers’ meeting to adress political turmoil in Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
- Report of persecution and harassment of leader waste pickers in Colombia (Colombia)
- Violent Assault of Waste Pickers Near Genesis Landfill, Johannesburg (South Africa)
- Another massive fire in Mbeubeuss landfill in Dakar, show support! (Senegal)
Talking Gender: Waste-pickers Children Open Discussions on Love, Marriage & Bullying (India) by Aruna Manjunath (07/02/2018)
Buguri Library is an initiative of Hasiru Dala for children of waste-pickers. On June 17th, in one of the libraries a workshop was organised gender sensitivization, where children of waste-pickers learned about the changes happening to body while growing up, what friendship means to us, why bullying is not helpful in the process of growing up. Children unfolded their own reflections on the issues. It is one of the kind of workshop and was organised with the help of Hidden Pockets Collective.
Waste-pickers Demand Inclusion in Social Welfare Measures, Access to Housing and Dignity (India) by Hasiru Dala (07/02/2018)
Memorandum submitted to Mr. U.T. Khader, Minister of Urban Development & Housing, Karnataka; Mr. R. Sampath Raj, Mayor of Bengaluru; Ms. Sowmya Reddy, Member of Legislative Assembly, Karnataka, representing Jayanagara; Mr. Manjunath Prasad, Commissioner of Bengaluru. The memorandum was submitted on the occassion of Hasiru Habba, an annual gathering of waste-pickers in Karnataka, where more than a thousand waste-pickers participated. The gathering is organised to celebrate the work done by waste-pickers and informal waste collectors to keep our cities clean and healthy. Memorandum included demands for housing of waste-pickers, loans at low rate of interest for up-gradation of houses, continuation of issuance of occupational identity cards, extending food security measures to migrant waste-pickers.
Bengaluru’s Dry Waste Collection Centres Are Not Being Paid for Their Work (India) by Kabir Arora (06/28/2018)
Bengaluru city’s dry waste collection centres (DWCCs) operated by erstwhile waste-pickers and waste collectors have not been paid their dues for more than a year. The DWCCs are waste sorting and aggregation centres set up at the municipal ward level. In Febraury 2017, the municipal authorities took a decision of engaging DWCCs in door to door collection of waste. This measure was taken with the objective of streamlining seggregation of waste at source and ensure that different streams of dry waste are destination bound. It would have helped DWCCs exploit their potential to the fullest extent. With non-payment of dues, it has become a nightmare for many operators. The waste-pickers are in dire need of cash to continue their work. The dues for all DWCCs collectively amount to almost a crore (10 million). The dues are to be paid towards salaries of the driver, helper and maintenance of vehicle engaged in door to door collection of dry waste
The Manual for Social Entitlements for Waste Pickers is out by Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (India) by Alliance of Indian Wastepickers (05/24/2018)
Informal waste recyclers (waste pickers and informal waste collectors) constitute 1% of urban population in developing nations as per the World Bank. While this sector is vibrant, it is also marginalized with no stable source of income. Regional, national and state level policies on waste can often displace large numbers of waste pickers. Recognizing this situation, the Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers, with financial support from National Safai Karamacharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC), has launched a national training programme for skill up-gradation. This training manual offers information on accessing available schemes to the highly marginalized group of waste pickers in India. The manual flows from enumerating the various available benefits and schemes to methods to access them. The manual ends with suggestions for further advocacy for improving access to the schemes. This final section stands on the assumption that improvements can only be achieved by organizing and mobilizing this sector. The training manual will be translated to regional languages like Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi. The main objective of the course is to build awareness within the waste picker community about their rights which include accessing social welfare benefits. Download AIW Social Entitlements manual (PDF in English).
Alliance of Indian Waste pickers announces their 3 Month Fellowship (India) by Alliance of Indian Wastepickers (05/23/2018)
The Alliance of Indian Wastepickers secretariat and its members have been receiving requests from activists, concerned citizens and civil society organizations to mentor for organizing wastepickers. Till now, CAG Chennai, Dalit Bahujan Resource Center, Guntur and CIVIC Aurangabad have been informally mentored by Alliance members. It has been realized that the mentoring process of organizations and individuals need to be institutionalized to enhance the learning. A three-month fellowship programme has been instituted through which major organization-members of alliance will incubate interested activists and concerned citizens. Download AIW Felowship Programme (Download AIW Felowship Programme in PDF).
Waste pickers in Brazil fight for their workplace by MNCR (08/04/2018)
Workers of a waste pickers’ cooperative were violently evicted in Sao Paulo. Legal steps were taken by MNCR to allow workers recover their equipment and return to their workplace. Workers from the Cooperativa Recoopera in Valinhos, Sao Paulo, are fighting back using several legal bodies to legally claim the building. The fight started on May 25th, when the prefecture took over the building and evicted the members of the cooperative from their workplace. Officers entered the building without a warrant, breaking doors and locks, and destroying documents and goods belonging to the workers. The municipality of Valinhos ignored their need to work, leaving them unable to recycle after working materials and equipment were taking from them following the eviction. The community of Valinhos has joined the call of waste pickers and it is conducting a fundraising campaign for the benefit of the cooperative.
Waste pickers camp in Sao Paulo for the right to decent housing (Brazil) by MNCR (08/03/2018)
After the death of a woman waste picker, the National Movement of Waste Pickers (MNCR) denounced the poor housing conditions suffering poor families. Hundreds of waste pickers’ families camp in a square of Largo do Paissandu, Sao Paulo (Brazil). Close to 300 waste pickers’ families fight for access to decent housing without obtaining a reply from the authorities. Even though the government promised a housing scheme for waste pickers, this never materialized. The buildings that will be allocated to waste pickers’ families are still unfinished and the state bureaucracy delays the possibilities to access these homes. Deaths of Brazil’s poorer families are still part of everyday life, for this reason, the National Movement of Waste Pickers are still speaking out and occupying the streets to demand their rights.
March for improvement of waste pickers working conditions in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by FACCyR (07/27/2018)
The Federation of Waste Pickers of Argentina (FACCYR) is working to highlight the neglect of the barrio La Tosquera and the families who live close to the open dump in San Pedro, Province of Buenos Aires. They demand improvements in waste pickers working conditions. For this reason, they marched in June demanding the fulfillment of the agreement made by the local government. The government still has not adopted any concrete measures.
Call from RENAREC to stop the removal of the redeemable tax on plastic bottles (IRBP) (Ecuador) by RENAREC (07/26/2018)
Drawing from the meeting between delegates of the Ministry of Industry and Productivity (MIPRO) of Ecuador and private employers due to the possible removal of the IRPB, the National Network of Waste Pickers of Ecuador (RENAREC) calls the president to stop negotiations and create a work group that includes them. The presence of this tax, force beverage companies which choose non returnable bottles to pay two dollar cents per bottle produced. On the other hand, it also implies that people collecting the bottles receive this amount for each bottle they return. Since the tax was implemented between 2012 and 2014, the country’s recycling market was revitalized, achieving high percentages of collection and recycling. In this sense, the continuity of negotiations between MIPRO and the private sector would have a negative impact for more than 20 thousand informal waste pickers who currently work in Ecuador, representing a big step back in environmental and social inclusion terms.
Waste pickers manage to suspend the law on waste incineration in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by FACCyR (07/25/2018)
In May, Buenos Aires’ legislative body condemned a law which allowed incineration of waste in the city. FACCyR, working in conjunction with various waste picker cooperatives and civil society organizations, and drawing from an appeal for protection, got the Justice to momentarily suspend the law.
Waste pickers’ meeting to adress political turmoil in Nicaragua (Nicaragua) by REDNICA (07/24/2018)
In a context of widespread sociopolitical and economical turmoil, Nicaraguan waste pickers organize themselves to think on strategies to overcome the crisis. They have decided to cease the work in landfills to focus on street waste collection. Even so, demand of materials is up to a minimum due to the situation of the country.
Report of persecution and harassment of leader waste pickers in Colombia (Colombia) by ARB (07/23/2018)
The Association of Waste pickers of Bogota (ARB) published this report (download PDF) describing the current condition experienced by trade union leaders in Colombia. This association represents thousands of the city’s informal waste pickers and, thanks to the union struggle, it has secured the 2011 court ruling which considers that waste pickers can compete with waste companies for municipal contracts, among other achievements. However, all the rights earned by the waste picker union brought along threats, persecutions and public denigration, followed even by assaults and theft at the union office.
On June 20th, at least 70 reclaimers (waste pickers) were violently attacked in a raid by the Red Ants, a private security company specialising in evictions. The attack took place next to the Genesis Landfill located near the center of Johannesburg, South Africa. Reclaimers’ homes were raided and workers were violently attacked. Witnesses reported that reclaimers’ valuables were stolen, passports were destroyed and workers were fired upon with rubber bullets by the South African private security company. At least 15 people were admitted in the hospital for injuries, including 4 people who were later transferred to another hostipal with serious injuries. The victims of this attack have worked and lived near the Genesis landfill for 17 years, with at least 20 families living in a small temporary settlement behind the landfill, near the railway. Reclaimers had traditionally been permitted to work during the landfill’s hours of operation but workers were prohibited entry once Averda (a multinational based in Dubai) assumed ownership and operation of the landfill in September 2016. To make matters more difficult, Averda served an interdict earlier this month to evict reclaimers from the landfill. With the help of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), the interdict has been postponed and the case is to be heard on July 16th. The June 20th attack on reclaimers by the Red Ants defied the court decision to postpone the interdict, and, by invading reclaimers’ homes (on land not owned by Averda), the Red Ants went beyond the jurisdiction of the eviction order. Workers admitted to hospital have since been released and are now recovering from their injuries. With the help of WIEGO and SERI, reclaimers filed two cases of assault and robbery. Several others are filling out the relevant paperwork so they can file cases of unlawful arrest, assault and theft. SERI will also support reclaimers in challenging the July 16th interdict. In the meantime, reclaimers are trying to re-negotiate access to the landfill with Averda so that they can continue to work and support their families through recycling.
Another massive fire in Mbeubeuss landfill in Dakar, show support! (Senegal) by Jenna Harvey (02/21/2018)
On Sunday the 11th of February 2018 a massive fire broke out at the Mbeubeuss waste dump in Dakar, Senegal. According to recent estimates, there are 2,500 waste pickers who earn their living recuperating recyclable materials from the dump. Some of these waste pickers lost years of storage, raw material, and shelter in the fire. In addition to the individual waste pickers who work on the dump, a plastic recycling company had been established there by Mr. Abdoul Aziz. Mr. Aziz is a founding member of the Mbeubeuss waste picker’s association Bokk Diom, and a former waste picker himself, who has worked at the dump since the 1970’s. His business involved the collection, cleaning and selling of plastic materials recovered from the dump. The business employed 75 men and women waste pickers and was completely destroyed in the fire. This is not the first time Mbeubeuss has caught fire. A previous fire in 2016, in a different area of the dump, also destroyed waste pickers’ stock, and devastatingly also resulted in a loss of life. The waste pickers of Mbeubeuss want safer, more dignified working conditions and recognition as legitimate workers who are providing an environmental service. In the wake of this most recent fire, plans are taking shape among members of Bokk Diom to mobilize around a platform of demands for on-site improvements at Mbeubeuss.
Support campaign: A GoFund me campaign has been established to support Mr. Aziz and the waste pickers at Mbeubeuss. Show your support here. Support and Donate!