Pollution Research Paper

Vol. 36, Issue 1, 2017; Page No.(123-129)




The general perception of society towards the waste collectors is of unproductive, undesirable and useless masses spoiling the beauty of the city. However, they are hidden environmentalists, efficient and productive workers doing the most important job of cleaning the city. They are not only providing their free labor to the city, but also diverting a high percentage of recyclables from the landfills. Their collective action and awareness about their rights have led to the formation of Kagad Kach Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) and Swach in the Pune city. The introduction of identity cards, health insurance for waste pickers and promotion of the educational scheme for child waste pickers by government are some of the remarkable outcome of their struggles. The Swach initiative brought together two interests - that of waste pickers in improving their livelihood and Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) interest in sustainable solid waste management. Their association in collaboration with the municipality in the form of the sustainable solid waste management model, Swach has proven as a role model for the rest of the nation. The paper highlights the factors responsible for the impressive outcome of Swach, such as undying spirit of KKPKP members to fight for their right, Maharashtra government’s policy for the integration of informal workers in the formal sector, the citizen’s contribution in terms of user fees and PMC’s willingness to work with waste pickers to improve solid waste management in the city. The study is helpful in exploring the potential, sustainability and replication of Swach model in other cities.

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