Waste and Development – Perspectives from the Ground
Field Actions Science Report. Special issue 6 Reconcling Poverty eradication and Protecion of the environment
Sonia María Dias, 2012
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Millions of people worldwide make a living collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling valuable materials disposed of as waste. Waste pickers contribute to public health, reduce the costs associated with municipal solid waste management, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the environment. In many countries, waste pickers supply the only form of solid waste collection. While waste pickers provide vital services to their communities, their municipalities and the environment – they generally face very difficult working conditions and in many cases have little or no support from local governments. Waste pickers have been organizing themselves into cooperatives, unions and associations and have found that forging solidarity links across continents is an important strategy, and have increased their global networking since the First World Conference of Waste Pickers took place, in 2008, in Bogota, Colombia. Supporting waste pickers is a key element in a people-centered approach to development.