The ragpickers in Kottayam town will be organised into a cooperative as part of the waste management project recommended by Roswitha Meyer, expert from the German organisation Senior Experten Service (SES).

Ms. Meyer who is here as a consultant for the Clean Green Kottayam project being spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Kottayam (East) has submitted her project report to the authorities on Thursday. The Club authorities said a preliminary study on the ragpickers in the town and its adjoining areas, has shown that their number may come to about 2,000, including women and children.

Mostly from Tamil Nadu, they are concentrated in unorganised colonies in places like Kurichy, Amayannur in clusters consisting of 300 to 400 persons each.

By organising them for waste collection and providing them with a recycling centre, the problem of municipal waste could be effectively addressed, she said in her report. This strategy would also help to address the issue of the unorganised ragpickers as it helps in rehabilitating them, the report said.

Identity cards

Said Bijumon Kurian, president of the Club, “These people do not come anywhere near the considerations of the mainstream administrative machinery. They do not have any identity proof and many of them live outside the strict contours of law.” They are not organised in any manner and make a living by picking plastics, bottles and other waste materials. Cleansed plastic will bring them up to Rs.15 a kg from the major procurers of waste.

The Club plans to organise them, provide them with identity cards and provide them a regular income. “This will help them not only in ensuring a regular earning, but also in protecting the law abiding segments among them from unnecessary harassment,” said Mr. Kurian.

Presently, in the absence of efficient segregation of the waste, nearly 3.4 tonnes of plastic is being disposed of, along with other waste materials. As per available data, plastic and other reusable substance worth Rs.15 lakh is lost every month on account of the absence of efficient segregation, Mr Kurian said. If the project is implemented, this would ensure a monthly income of Rs. 3,000 to Rs.5,000 per rag picker.

The project also envisage enlisting schools, residential associations, commercial and other institutions so that segregated waste could be picked up by the members of the proposed collective. If effective segregation was undertaken, the quantity of waste would come down to one fourth of the quantity now being processed. This could be easily removed for land filling or to an incinerator plant, the project said.

  • Project will ensure a monthly income of

    Rs.3,000 to every ragpicker

  • Rs.15 lakh worth plastic is lost as there is no efficient segregation