Skip to main content

'Eco-friendly': 58% of Delhi's 2 lakh waste pickers move in cycles to collect waste

Counterview Desk
Safai Sena, in partnership with Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group* and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), organized a cycle rally on November 16 in New Delhi as an awareness campaign to reduce air pollution and create safe spaces for cyclists and pedestrians on the road. 
A note prepared by Safai Sena representatives A Manwara Begum and B Jaiprakash Choudary, and Chintan representatives Shruti Sinha points to why waste pickers, kabaris and junk dealers, who move around in cycles for earning their livelihood are more eco-friendly.

Text:

As air pollution is on the rise and vehicular pollution from motorized transport is one of the biggest recognized causal factors, we believe that in order to promote better air quality and make cities more liveable we need better data-driven decisions based on the latest scientific studies. 
Emissions from vehicular pollution are believed to be one of the major contributors to pollution in Delhi. As per the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), vehicular emissions are responsible for 40% of the pollution in the National Capital.
Studies done by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) also show that the transport sector is the main source of PM2.5 emissions in Delhi (28 percent of all PM2.5 emissions). Vehicular contribution also makes up 80 percent of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in Delhi’s air.
In an article in The Lancet on health impact, alternate transport scenarios were estimated in cities like London and Delhi. It was found that, for Delhi, cleaner motor vehicles and increased active travel scenarios (walking and cycling) resulted in a greater health gain from reduced air pollution.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, persons killed in non-motorized transport in the years 2018 and 2019 were 3585 and 11242 respectively. Pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised vehicles accounted for 27.3% of all road accident deaths in the year 2019. 
To quote the World Health Organization, our roads are "particularly unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists who, without the protective shell of a car around them, are more vulnerable. These road users need to be given increased attention. While progress has been made towards protecting people in cars, the needs of these vulnerable groups of road users are not being met.”
More than two lakh waste pickers are involved in managing 20-25% waste generated in Delhi from door-to-door collection to recycling and recovering of waste. The mode of waste collection is mostly cycles (58%), followed by walking (24%) and rickshaws (18%). 
The average distance travelled by waste pickers using these three environmentally friendly modes of transport is 11-16 km each day. They are not only contributing for a cleaner planet but saving the climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and act as mitigators of climate change. Safai Sena, a collective of waste pickers, kabari’s, recyclers, and junk dealers demand:
  • Cycling lanes to be provided to promote the culture of cycling
  • Space be provided for parking of cycles, handcarts and rickshaws at residential and non-residential areas
  • Free passes to be given for cycle, handcart, and rickshaw so that waste pickers continue to keep the planet clean without any problem.
  • Subsidy by the government should be provided to informal sector workers on cycles, handcarts, and rickshaws
---
*Safai Sena is a registered collective of waste pickers, door-to-door waste-pickers, kabaris, junk dealers, other small buyers, small scrap dealers, and other types of recyclers; Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group is an independent, non-profit, non-government organization working in the field of sustainability and environmental justice for the past 20 years

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Critics of your government should not be in jail: PUCL shoots open letter to Modi

Counterview Desk In an open letter, Ravikiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, general secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have taken strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s view that raising human rights issues can ‘tarnish’ the country’s reputation, stating, those who raise human rights concerns do it “through established United Nations mechanisms such as the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

When judges behave more like priests, delivering sermons from high podium...

By Ajit Singh*  The theory of separation of power found its origins in ancient Greece but with the passage of time it became widespread in other parts of Europe. Early proponent of the theory Greek philosopher Aristotle in “Politics” argued that implementation of constitution in letter and spirit can only be possible if the three elements among whom the power has been distributed are well arranged.

Covid appropriate behaviour? Why masks can't be suitable in hot, humid climate

By Dr Amitav Banerjee* Appearances can be deceptive. So can be Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB). An anecdote illustrates this well known cliché. A man who is very particular about hygiene decides to eat out. After a rather long search, he spots a restaurant which has a spotlessly clean exterior and he walks in.

Muck being thrown in Uttarakhand rivers: Villagers face 'existential' crisis

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The Uttarakhand government must act fast to clear the path of Dhauli Ganga river about two kilometres ahead of village Neeti and about one kilometre from Ghamsali village, which is about 90 kilometer from Joshi Math town in district Chamoli. The creation of an artificial lake due to throwing of muck and mud can create a catastrophic situation like what happened on February 7, 2021-- the Rishi Ganga-Dhauli Ganga tragedy at Tapovan and Raini village in which over 200 people lost their life.

How Indore turned into water minus city after authorities 'managed' Water Plus title

Water harvester cleaning up hyacinth from an Indore river By Rahul Banerjee*  Recently, the city of Indore was declared the first Water Plus city in India under the Swachh Sarvekshan programme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for its ostensibly exemplary waste water management. However, the reality is quite different as a detailed study of the prevailing wastewater management situation in the city shows.

UP govt 'ignoring' demand to fill up teachers' posts despite unemployment: Rights groups

Sandeep Pandey with Shikha Pal Counterview Desk  Commenting on the unique protest undertaken by Shikha Pal atop an overhead water tank for nearly four months, the Socialist Party (India), in association with several civil rights group, Yuva Shakti Sangathan, Socialist Yuvjan Sabha and Rihai Manch, have wondered why has the Yogi Adityanath government is so “insensitive” towards her demands and is looking the “other way.”

Restricting use of public places for religious purpose: Will Gehlot govt respect HC order?

By Kavita Srivastava*  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, has welcomed the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court dismissing the petition by Pooja Gurnani which challenged a circular of the Rajasthan government which restrained the construction of a ‘Pooja Sthal’ in the premises of a police station.

Rehabilitation site 'offered' to 6000 displaced Khori villagers not livable: Team Saathi

By Our Representative  Second round of the Chitthi Andolan (letter movement) of the Khori village residents, whose more than 6,000 houses were demolished as they were allegedly built on forest land, has begun, with hundreds of them telling the authorities of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad, that no one has received the promised financial assistance of meagre Rs 2,000.