The Alliance of Indian Wastepickers is a decade-old national coalition of organizations working with waste-pickers and other informal waste collectors. The alliance was created to have coordinated efforts to ensure the inclusion of waste pickers in various national-level programmes. Organizations/members of the alliance represent more than 100000 waste-pickers and other informal waste-pickers in India. The Secretariat of the alliance has been rotating amongst member organizations starting from Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), Pune. After that, the Bangalore based organization of waste pickers- Hasiru Dala hosted the secretariat for 3 years, followed by Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai for 3 years. From April 2019, Dalit Bahujan Resource Centre (DBRC) is hosting the secretariat of the Alliance.
Achievements of the Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers
- Inclusion of waste-pickers and informal waste collectors in Solid and Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change: The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers undertook an advocacy campaign for the inclusion of waste-pickers in the given rules which govern the waste management in India. The representative of the member organization of the Alliance (KKPKP) was a part of the committee which drafted these rules.
- Inclusion of waste-pickers and their children in Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, which was later merged into Ayushman Bharat and National Urban Health Mission, Scholarships for Children Engaged in Unclean Occupation and various training programmes of National Safaikarmacharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC) and Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET).
- Invited as experts for the training of municipal officials by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (think tank of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs). More than 1100 municipal officials participated in these training sessions across India. Many of the members of the Alliance are recognized as resource persons by various municipal, state and national training agencies.
- Represented Indian waste-pickers in the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN-Habitat meetings.
Area of work of the Alliance
- Policy analysis and recommending policy measures to all levels of governments- Union, state and urban and rural local governments, different departments within each level of three-tier governments, for the inclusion of waste pickers and informal waste collectors in solid waste management and social protection measures.
- Capacity building of member organizations and municipal authorities to facilitate the integration of waste-pickers by undertaking training sessions on social entitlements, financial literacy, organic and dry waste management.
- Research focusing on waste management techniques, informal waste chains and status of waste-pickers and informal waste collectors.
- Awareness generation about the role played by waste-pickers and informal waste collectors in keeping the cities clean, mitigating climate change and contributing to manufacturing.
- Helping member organizations to strengthen themselves by providing a networking platform to learn from each other.
- Relief distribution to waste-pickers across India during the last two lockdowns.
Eligibility and process to become a member of the alliance
Waste-pickers groups and groups working with waste-pickers can become the members of the Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers. It is suggested that one or two members of the alliance should give recommendations for those who are aspiring to become the member. Further, one of the network members (or coordinator or convenor) is invited to visit the interested organization’s field of work to learn about their work with waste-pickers.
The alliance has a Programme Committee for taking the decisions. Some of the members of the alliance volunteer to be a part of the decision-making body. There is a deliberate effort made to ensure that the diversity of the network is represented in the programme committee.
The network structure is very loose. There is no membership fees. The members are encouraged to make a contribution in whatever ways they find possible. In past, some members have hosted workshops and meetings for the alliance members. They organized it with their own resources. In some meetings, members travelled on their own. Members have committed lunch or food arrangements in some of the meetings. This is considered as the contribution towards the network. The membership of the alliance extends to more than thirty-four cities and ten states. There are an online Google-group and few Whatsapp groups for regular communication within the network. Once the membership is accepted, the new members are immediately added to Whatsapp and Google Group for regular updates.
Secretariat hosted by: Dalit Bahujan Resource Centre, D. No. 4-16-25/6, Bandlamudi Complex, Bharathpet, Amaravathi Road, Guntur-522002, Andhra Pradesh, India
Phone No: +918632254271
Learn about wastepickers integration with the tools created by the Alliance of Indian Wastepickers
The process outlined for the integration of waste-pickers and informal waste collectors outlined by the Alliance of Indian Wastepickers. This based on the roadmap prescribed in Solid & Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
Wastepickers integration roadmap in Solid Waste Management Rules 2016
Business (livelihood) opportunities for wastepickers -Training manual
Organic waste management manual for training wastepickers
Organic waste management manual for training wastepickers
A Mirage Assessment of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and SWM Rules 2016: Wastepickers Perspective Across India (PDF)
Asia – International Alliance of Waste Pickers A networking process of waste picker organizations
- Dry waste centre and the basis of our livelihood have been destroyedby indianwastepickers on May 24, 2023
The Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC) in ward 177, JP Nagar (India), was set on fire on 20th May 2023. The centre is run by Kumuda, a former waste picker who put her own money into the centre to run dry waste collection for the ward’s residents and with the BBMP’s support. With the loss » read the post
- We Speak Too webinar, by Sanitation Workers in Mumbaiby Alliance of Indian Wastepickers on September 23, 2022
A multi-city series of curated seminars — ‘We speak too, by Sanitation Workers’, co-organised by Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, provides a platform for sanitation workers playing various roles in various urban contexts to come together to narrate their stories, challenges, and experiences for diverse audiences. The » read the post
- Waste picker shelters burned in Bantar Gebang Landfill (Indonesia)by International Alliance of Waste Pickers on March 25, 2022
On March 15, at 2pm Indonesia time, shelters of members of Ikatan Pemulung Indonesia (Indonesia Waste-pickers Union – IPI) were burned near Bantar Gebang Landfill (in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia. They reported that 70 non-permanent homes/huts were burned in Ciketing, Sumur Batu Village in Bantar Gebang Subdistrict, Bekasi City, West Java Province and that about » read the post
- Announcement: Request for proposal to set up the National Database of Waste-pickersby Alliance of Indian Wastepickers on October 14, 2021
Deadline for submission of Request for Proposal extended to 10th November 2021 1. Background The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (AIW) is setting up a national database of waste-pickers in India. The database is needed to strengthen organizing work. Further, it will serve as a platform to measure the outreach of the Alliance and its members » read the post
- Issue Series 1 Extended Producers Responsibility and Inclusion: Brazil’s Extended Producer Responsibility and its Interface with Waste Pickersby Alliance of Indian Wastepickers on April 9, 2021
The recycling industry since its early beginning had always relied on the work carried out by informal recycling workers in Brazil, the “catadores de materiais recicláveis” (pickers of recyclables). As household waste collection falls under the responsibility of municipalities the informal sector in Brazil works primarily reclaiming recyclables either as autonomous workers or linked to » read the post
- When the Minister read postcards written by waste pickers’ childrenby Alliance of Indian Wastepickers on April 2, 2021
Waste pickers and other informal sector waste workers make a living collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling materials that others throw away. They contribute to local economies, public health and environmental sustainability. The vast majority of waste pickers in India are women, and Dalits, who have been invisible to society, faced discrimination and worked without recognition » read the post