Waste Collectors in Mumbai

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Waste Collectors in Mumbai

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India is one of the countries where the environment is most polluted. In the big cities there are more than 100 million tons of solid waste to be found. The consumption constantly increases and the government is lacking regulation of this additional pollution. Because the landfill sites are poorly managed and can not handle the large amount of waste, this development results in about 40% of municipal waste not being picked up. Other consequences are conditions of insufficient sanitation and lack of hygiene in the affected areas. The group of waste pickers who collect the waste do so in appalling working conditions, and in addition they work for extremely low wages. This is because their collected waste is sold to recycling companies through so-called “scrap dealers”, leaving the waste pickers with a very low percentage of financial revenue.

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The neglect of waste management in developing countries such as India is largely due to poverty and the desire for economic prosperity. However, the global context is important to consider when evaluating the environment’s role for sustainable development of such countries.

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How can this be achieved?

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By setting up a waste-picking company in Mumbai, India. In this company, OFoundation functions as a link between the waste-pickers and recycling companies. OFoundation also provides waste pickers in Mumbai with the opportunity to professionalize their work, generate fair wages as well as healthy working conditions.

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For this reason, OFoundation decided to address these two issues: First of all, the investment in local economies via projects that entirely focus on efficient and environmentally conscious waste management. This way, waste products out of materials such as paper and plastic, among others, can be collected, reused or appropriately disposed. Furthermore, locals are supported in the setup of improved living conditions, including enhanced sanitation and hygiene standards. By these means, sustainable growth of the local economy will be achieved.

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Target: Rag (Waste) Pickers

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Rag Pickers are people who earn their money with collecting, sorting and selling materials that are discarded. These are especially easily recyclable materials such as glass, plastic and metal. Rag Pickers have a low social status, often find themselves in very poor living and working conditions and only receive little – if any – support from local governments. Rag Picking is usually the only way for them to earn money and thus not a prioritized choice but a necessity in order to survive. Most Rag Pickers live in shantytowns, on sidewalks or landfills. From early morning until late at night, they wander off their regular routes to collect waste products, risking their health.

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Rag Pickers significantly support their community and the environment with their work contributions. However, this communal need is neither reflected in their social status nor in their living conditions. Rag pickers are exposed to major health risks (medical and chemical materials), dangerous toxic fumes and high temperatures. They regularly suffer from cuts, burns, back pain, dizziness, allergies, respiratory problems and may even experience dog attacks. In addition, they are often harassed and beaten by people from higher classes or authorities and are not treated based on civil rights agreements. Furthermore, most children working in this field cannot attend school, leading to a lack of educational progress and future investment.

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Waste pickers will enjoy the following benefits as an employee at OFoundation:

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Our goal at OFoundation is to finally end these inhuman conditions and eradicate such forms of abuse and human rights violations. We offer locals a fixed income and organized trainings so they can perform their work in an efficient and safe manner. Furthermore, we facilitate necessary equipment to guarantee improved safety standards. This includes the provision of shoes, gloves, prods as well as protective masks to guard the workers from dangerous toxins and other substances. Eventually, the Rag Pickers will be working through OFoundation experience much better working conditions and provide learning opportunities for themselves. The socio – commercial franchise will serve as a platform which in turn can stabilize other OFoundation projects and franchises.

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OFoundation’s future employee Ajay – Waste picker project Mumbai

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Challenges

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In our Projects, we have faced many challenges.

Here you can find more specific information about the experiences we have made and future advise.

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