The main aim of this report is to highlight the need for the promulgation of a Waste Picker Welfare Law in Karnataka that acknowledges waste picking as a genuine profession and grants to waste pickers the rights due to all persons engaged in a recognized profession in India.
It is estimated that waste pickers in this country recycle over 20% of the one fifty million tons of waste that is produced in India per day. However, until the promulgation of the 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules, there was no direct acknowledgement of their immense contributions to India’s solid waste management efforts and even today there is no single law that concretely recognizes their profession nor provides for their unique requirements. This non recognition of one of India’s most efficient working assets and the stigma attached to waste picking as a profession has rendered them prey to much discrimination, violence and harassment as will be highlighted in this report.
Therefore, while highlighting the plight of waste pickers in India, the Report presents a study of the state of Karnataka, which has been at the forefront of the recognition and integration of waste pickers into its solid waste management strategy and need for the creation of a Waste Picker Welfare Law in the state.