By PRAVEEN KUMAR G
The profession of waste-picking has been in existence for several decades in many countries. However, India is among those few countries where waste-pickers suffer the highest level of apathy and socio-economic inequality. They earn their living with dignity by picking up recyclables from garbage heaps, and also make a significant contribution to environment in the process. It is estimated that, in a city like Bengaluru, about 20% of the waste generated is diverted from landfills by informal waste workers every day. Yet, they continue to be relegated to the informal sector with little access to workers’ rights, social benefits, and the respect that they deserve.
It is startling to know that waste-pickers have an average life expectancy of 39 years, due to being exposed to hazardous conditions in their work environment. Besides being highly vulnerable to cancer, tuberculosis, chemical poisoning and biological infections, they are subjected to daily harassment by various sections of the society. Waste-picking is often adopted as a hereditary line of profession, and many children are forced to take up this work as early as 5 years of age, doubling up as bread winners for their families.
The IGG Transformation
I Got Garbage aims to take waste-pickers away from scavenging, and bring them to the source of waste as uniformed service providers. It is estimated that bulk generators such as apartments, institutions, offices and hotels contribute to over half of the waste generated in Indian cities. Municipalities are not responsible to serve bulk generators, and waste management services is hence, an open market. Several private players offer their services in the larger cities.
As I Got Garbage expands its operations, we are proud to be associated with partners servicing various cities in this sector.