PCB workers demand inclusion in Solid Waste Management

Waste pickers play a central role in solid waste management by collecting, sorting and recycling  material discarded by consumers in growing economies. They often do so with considerable risk to their health and well-being and end up saving the municipal corporation crores of rupees per year. Even during the lockdown, when everyone panicked and worked from home, these waste collectors continued to provide service on the frontlines. Despite this, waste pickers are not formally recognised for their work. Over the years the Pune Municipal corporation has assimilated waste pickers in the solid waste management system.
But this has not been emulated by the Pune Cantonment Board. On the 7th of September, without warning, the Pune cantonment board’s dumpsite was officially closed down to the 30 waste pickers who had been working there for decades, leaving them with no source of livelihood. A segregation plant has been installed there with no consultation or thought given to the waste pickers working on the site. Solid waste management guidelines clearly state that local municipalities are bound to integrate waste pickers in solid waste management processes including door to door collection.