Informal Waste Workers 2022 [Ongoing]
One day on my way to work, I met a young man, we must have been in the same age group. He had a sack and was rummaging through a big green bin without any gloves or protective equipment. He observed he was sourcing plastic, metal, or paper waste. I tried to start a conversation with him but neither of us understood each other's language.
Informal waste workers refer to workers who make a living, collecting and disposing of waste but are not formally authorized for rendering this service
. This group plays an important role in the city; collecting and disposing of solid waste; keeping low-income neighborhoods clean, promoting circularity through recycling; contributing to the local economy.
While informal waste workers play a significant role in keeping the environment clean, they remain marginalized from an institutional, health, economic, and social perspective. The existing waste management structure does not recognize them, they operate under terrible working conditions, remuneration is poor and the society barely regards them with dignity – this is easily reflected in some of the names they are called.
I hope to study this sector, understand and attempt to humanize this source of livelihood, and support them in advocating for better working conditions