Event held to register city’s waste pickers and give them identity cards

Anamma S., who works in a dry waste centre in Kamakshipalya here, says a simple identity card, issued by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), made a qualitative difference to her life.

Before she had this card to prove that she was a legitimate worker, she says, she was often picked up by the police when she was picking rags or threatened by residents. “I have had a card for a year now, and things are really different for me,” she said, speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of an event held to register waste pickers and give them identity cards.

The event was organised by Bangalore-based NGO Hasiru Dala in association with the BBMP. Of the estimated 20,000 waste pickers in the city, about 7,000 had registered themselves for issue of identity cards. Hasiru Dala’s cofounder Nalini Shekar said they were trying to provide the waste pickers group health insurance.

The waste pickers segregate garbage at dry waste collection centres and take it to recycling centres to sell and earn a living. The event was organised at Freedom Park to recognise the efforts of this large informal sector, which contributes substantially to the city’s waste management efforts. Ms. Shekhar said that when the discourse was about “environmentalist” it should also include this group of people who work silently to clean the environment but hardly get any credit.

Helping hand

The focus was on organising an event, where they gather, enjoy some dance and music, and enjoy themselves. She explained that the organisation provides the gear and training to local dry waste collection centres in Bangalore.

Street plays were organised to educate them on recycling procedures. Surya Prakash (19), who runs a dry waste centre in HSR Layout, who performed at the event, said he was happy to be there.

Hasiru Dala also felicitated N.S. Ramakanth, member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table and BBMP solid waste management expert committee, for his efforts in uplifting the lives of waste pickers in Bangalore.

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