March 1st is International Waste Pickers Day, aiming to recognize people who make a living collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling materials we have thrown away. They are called waste pickers, and they represent millions of people worldwide. This term was adopted at the First World Conference of Waste Pickers in Colombia in 2008. They collect household, commercial and industrial waste from private bins, dumpsters, in streets or landfills. Waste picking provides people with income, contributes to cleanliness, increases reuse and recycling, and improves public health and sanitation.
For the first time in Zambia, International Waste Pickers' Day will be commemorated. Activities through the week will offer waste pickers and their organizations and allies a chance to showcase the contributions of this important workforce. They will also be given the chance to share the challenges they face in collectig waste.
Millions of people make a living collecting, sorting, recycling and selling what others have discarded. While waste picking benefits households, communities and the environment, these workers are often maligned, even criminalized. And increasingly, they are denied access to waste as powerful corporations muscle into this lucrative arena.
Waste pickers' livelihoods are also threatened when unsafe open dumps are closed--but it doesn't have to be that way. Their rights must be upheld and respected. Waste pickers must be seen as allies in the fight against Climate Change and its effects on the environment. their Human Rights must be protected and safeguarded just like any other occupation.
What is your Personal Pledge to Reducing the use of Plastic?
RECYCLING WITHOUT WASTE PICKERS, IS GARBAGE!