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Whither waste pickers in managing waste?, ask Dalit groups at Earth Day event

By Our Representative 

A recent event, organised by the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) with the help of Janpahal, Workers Welfare Foundation and Basti Suraksha Manch to mark the Earth Day 2022, has pointed towards terribly inadequate plans to have landfill sites for waste management and involvement of waste pickers in waste management.
Consisting of discussions and celebrations, and pointing towards “loss of land due to lack of scientific management of waste and the role of waste pickers”, it was asserted during the discussion that currently are just 262 acres of land for four landfills in Delhi for waste management.
If Burari, Shastri Park, Sukhdev Vihar are included for processing, then this figure reaches close to 300 acres. If the slope houses are included in the mohallas, then this figure goes beyond the minimum 400 acres, which comes to just around 1.62 sq km, an expert participant said.
According to an estimate, this expert said, by 2050, land equivalent to 88 sq km will be required for waste disposal – which is equivalent to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area, suggesting poor planning for this as of today.
The expert said, “If the workers in the unorganized sector involved in waste management are made partners, one third of the land currently being used can be better managed. Also, if the municipality implements the recommendation of Municipal Solid Wastes (Management & Handling) (MSW) Rules 2016, then there is a possibility of utilising more than 90% waste through Material Recovery Facility (MRF).”
“We all should try together for this that waste should be managed in a scientific way”, it was added. The event – organised against backdrop of the Earth Day 2022 focus on accelerating solutions to combat the world’s greatest threat, climate change – saw the participation especially of waste pickers, who, it was said, contribute the most to earth without even being recognised for their work i.e. the waste picking.
The event took place at Ghaziabad with a play by Sangwari Group centred around the life and struggles of Ambedkar, songs, discussion and a free health and e-shram card camp.

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