A DAY WITH THE RAGPICKER KIDS AT NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTRE WITH SALWAN KIDS AS BUDDIES
In India, recycling is taken care of by people, whom we more than often, relegate to lowest hierarchy of humanity. Yes, all our recycling is done mostly by ragpickers and kabaris! Most ragpickers are young, little above the age to be called kids. Thousands of them pick through garbages in your city. As they sift through garbage unprotected, they absorb toxins from the garbage. They are hunched for hours, which gives them several back and cervical problems at early age.
Delhi alone generates over 7000 MT waste daily. There are a range of materials that are picked up by these ragpickers: plastics, paper, glass, and metals. Studies estimate that these informal labour forces saves the three Municipalities a minimum of Rs. 6 lakhs daily.
The other people involved in this recycling process are: ragpickers, small middlemen, transporters, larger middlemen and re processors.
Ragpickers, when their waste bag is full, sell the waste to middleman called kabari. Before a kabari will buy waste from the rag picker, the ragpickers must ensure two things to get their hard-earned money:
- Sort the waste according to different types of plastics, paper, metals.
- Ensure that the waste is clean and dry, or the kabari can’t accept them.
It is sad that ragpickers who clean up our dirt and contribute to environment are harassed by both police and municipal workers. They need to bribe municipal workers to forage into garbage bin. Police, instead of protecting them, often beats them and forces them to sweep police stations and municipal offices. Bullies also snatch their hard-earned meager sum, landing them into vicious cycle of debt. Often their earnings are held back by middlemen to cover previous loan. They are then forced to starve! It is a scary profession.
These rag pickers are not beggars. They do the hard work. When will we recognize their effort and provide them at least basic amenities?
So as to teach our kids the life of a rag picker.We invited them to be a part of our fun & excursion tour in which Salwan kids taught them the nuances of science at National Science Centre with lunch sponsored by Regency Hotels at India Gate Lawns after that a football match between the two teams.