Tag Archives: waste pickers

WASTE -A documentary by Parasher Baruah

After winning a fellowship with InfoChange India, Parasher Baruah has directed a documentary film about the rag pickers of Dharavi . The film was selected to be screened at the Munich Documentary Film Festival in May 2009.

Filmed over a period of eight months in Dharavi, WASTE explores the importance of the rag pickers’ role in managing the city’s waste and the challenges that these people face every day. The film follows three adolescent rag pickers, Sameer, Santosh, and Salman, as they go about their daily lives and interviews other rag pickers and residents of Dharavi in the process.

WASTE leaves a powerful impact on its audience and prompts viewers to rethink the way they use and dispose of trash. The film continues to be screened at various schools and events to bring attention to the living conditions of rag pickers and to help audiences gain perspective on how their patterns of consumption impact the environment

Stunning Mural In Cairo’s ‘Garbage City’ Stretches Across 50 Buildings

Stunning Mural In Cairo’s ‘Garbage City’ Stretches Across 50 Buildings | Source: Huffington Post, Mar 15, 2016 |

In Egypt’s Garbage City, global street artist eL Seed is honoring the people who help keep Cairo clean. egypt

Nestled in Cairo’s Manshiyat Naser neighborhood sits Garbage City, the crassly nicknamed settlement which houses the Coptic community known as the Zabaleen.

For decades, the Zabaleen have worked as unofficial sanitation experts, privately traveling door to door to collect the capital’s trash, return to their homes to sort through it and identify the salvaged materials that could be sold to factories and wholesalers. Most organic waste would be fed to the community’s pigs.

Informally, the Zabaleen developed one of the most efficient, cost-effective recycling systems in the region. According to The Guardian, they collect around 9,000 tons of garbage per day, which amounts to nearly two-thirds of the trash thrown away by Cairo’s inhabitants. On top of that, Laila Iskander, Egypt’s Minister of State for Environment Affairs, estimates the mini city boasts a recycling capacity of nearly 100 percent.

Despite the Zabaleen’s efforts, their quarter of Cairo is often viewed as nothing more than its nickname. “The place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated,” street artist eL Seed wrote on his Facebook page this week. “In my new project ‘Perception,’ I am questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.”

Read the complete article.

World Bank-Waste Management Key to Regaining Public Trust in the Arab World

Waste Management Key to Regaining Public Trust in the Arab World | Source: World Bank, Mar 14, 2016 |

The municipal management of household garbage or solid waste is one of the simplest, most common signs of a working relationship between the state and its citizens. Lebanon’s recent problem—of municipalities leaving garbage to pile up uncollected—has caused public outcry and public demonstrations. It is an example of a failed social contract between the state and its citizens.

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Zouzou l Shutterstock.com

It is, as one local youth put it, not just about services: “The root cause of the waste crisis in Lebanon is not technical but political. There is no political will to solve the problem—from one side mainly because of the failure of state institutions and a deadlock in decision making within the cabinet; and from the other, because multiple political actors with vested interests have been blocking any solution”.

This piece examines three countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—Morocco, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia—each of which have had a unique journey, both in the way they have learned to manage solid waste and in how this has translated into an important part of the relationship that has evolved between their citizens, local authorities, and national governments.

In Morocco, the reform of the solid waste sector has taken place over the past decade, with its emphasis on public partnership with the private sector and on improving the environment and lives of vulnerable groups of people who make money from picking through household garbage. Before the reform program began, solid waste sites in Morocco were poorly managed. Rivers laced with toxic effluent commonly flowed through towns and into the Atlantic. “Waste-pickers”—the men and women, adults and children trying to make a living from what other people were throwing out—often competed to collect valuable scraps of rubbish from unregulated dump sites without any protection.

Read the complete article.

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management | Sources: World Bank’s Voices, March 2 2016 |

Waste – its generation, collection, and disposal – is a major global challenge of the 21st century. Recycling waste drives environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulates the economy by supplying raw materials and packaging materials.

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Photo: Global Environment Facility/Flickr

Waste pickers are the principal actors in reclaiming waste for the recycling industry. Across the world, large numbers of people from low-income and disadvantaged communities make a living collecting and sorting waste, and then selling reclaimed waste through intermediaries to the recycling industry.

Where others see trash or garbage, the waste pickers see paper, cardboard, glass, and metal. They are skilled at sorting and bundling different types of waste by color, weight, and end use to sell to the recycling industry. Yet waste pickers are rarely recognized for the important role they play in creating value from the waste generated by others and in contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Read the complete article.

Global Study from WIEGO Network Reveals How People Living Off Waste Improve Cities

Global Study from WIEGO Network Reveals How People Living Off Waste Improve Cities | Source: PR Underground, Feb 29, 2016 |

New research released today – ahead of International Waste Pickers’ Day on March 1 – highlights the role and impact of those who make a living from what others throw away. The study challenges the common view that waste pickers have no place in modern solid waste management systems. WIEGO-logo-300dpi-RGB-235x141

Waste pickers are among the most invisible workers in the informal economy and often work in deplorable conditions. The study shows how waste pickers in five developing countries play a role in keeping cities clean and highlights the challenges they face in recovering recyclable materials.

In cities where local governments have provided better access to recyclables, integrated waste pickers into formal solid waste management systems and provided protected spaces for sorting and baling waste, waste pickers have report higher earnings, improved door-to-door waste removal services, savings to municipal coffers and reduction in on-the-job health issues.

Read the complete article.

 

Creating Music and Inspiration From What We Throw Away

Published on Feb 19, 2013

Music is a gift available to all — and especially treasured by those with the least — as the documentary Landfill Harmonic shares. It’s an inspiring story of a community of waste pickers in Paraguay who create instruments from these same garbage piles and work together to create The Recycled Orchestra which stirs the soul.

Accomplished violinist, Caleb Hans Polashek brings the sound of their music to life as he plays a violin constructed so beautifully (and resourcefully) by this community — one of only five of these instruments currently in the United States.

Cleaning up the E-Waste Recycling Industry

Cleaning up the E-Waste Recycling Industry. Source: Julie Ann Aelbrecht, Huffington Post, Jan 5 2016.

Upon opening a shipment of computers it had received through the International Children’s Fund (ICF), a Ghanaian school discovered the equipment sent was 15 years old. Most of the computers needed replacement parts, parts that weren’t available anymore. In the end, the school managed to get only a single computer working again.

While the ICF had good intentions, a fake charity had handed it a container of what was meant to be workable secondhand material that was actually closer to its end of life–that is, effectively waste. That unfortunate Ghanaian school is only one victim in a long chain of corruption, theft and organized crime that stretches from Brussels to Cape Town.

This is the global trade in electronic waste, or e-waste. It is estimated to be worth over $19 billion and leaves a trail of criminality behind it. The flow of discarded electronics follows a route where European countries turn a blind eye to theft and major companies bend and break recycling rules to get electronics to developing markets, where the waste disappears into dangerous ad hoc dumps. There, the waste is often dealt with by illegal recyclers in ways that are catastrophic to the environment and human health.

But while e-waste is a dirty business, some are trying to clean it up, mostly by bringing these informal recyclers slowly into the regulated recycling industry.

Read the complete article.