This is the story of Manda, one of many waste workers in Dharamshala, who are working with us to collect segregated waste from families here.
A day in the life of a waste worker is tough. There are hundreds of waste workers, both formal sanitation workers and informal waste pickers, who live and work in every city and town across the country.
From picking up trash that you might have littered, to rummaging through your disposed trash bags, to walking barefoot through dumping grounds, and carrying heavy loads of recyclables: it is a hard life. Not only in India, with millions of waste workers, but also in many countries around the world with countless more who make a living doing this every single day.
We would like you to take a moment to recognize, appreciate, and respect their hard work, their perseverance, and their ability to push through despite all the odds. Their collective work saves millions of tons of recyclables from ending up in landfills, rivers, and oceans. We do owe them a lot more than we may think. It is time to support them, train them, and uplift them towards a better future.
The next time you see a waste worker on the road sweeping it clean or picking waste that someone threw out, take a moment and ask yourself: what could you be doing to make that person’s life a bit better? You can start by reducing what you consume and dispose, by segregating your waste, by composting your organic waste at home, by storing your sanitary and hazardous waste separately, and a hundred other little things. So let’s begin!