Hasiru Dala, started in 2013, is an organization of waste workers that works towards improving the livelihood and quality of life of waste pickers by providing total waste management services through them to bulk generators of waste. It also provides social services and support to the waste picking community. Hasiru Dala therefore impacts both lives and the environment.
There is large scale service gap in solid waste management. There are potential scalable solutions which need our thorough attention and support. Waste is not a curse, it is a resource. Waste-pickers, waste sorters and graders, itinerant buyers, scrap dealers– all identified as informal waste workers know it well. When we are planning for waste management services in the city, we need to remember there are waste workers who convert waste to essential materials needed to run the economy. Their contribution is significant.
After Pune, Bangalore is the only city in India where waste workers are being integrated in waste management services under the ambit of urban local body. The waste workers in Bangalore collect segregated waste (dry, wet and sanitary) and transport it to designated processing units. They collect dry or recyclable waste and send it to those who want to buy and use it for various recycling industries. By doing so, they collect 1050 tons of waste and send it back for re-use. They convert wet or organic waste to compost for urban gardens and parks. They send the sanitary waste for safe and scientific incineration. Thus, bringing down the amount of waste that gets sent to landfills as well.
They help Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Pallike (BBMP) save Rs. 84 crore every year of tax payers’ money, aren’t they amazing? The urban local body is very much open to engage with them. Many of them have safety equipments. Some are up-grading their skills. How is it happening? Answer is Hasiru Dala- a collective of waste workers.
How does Hasiru Dala operate?
As per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000, every household has to segregate waste between dry, wet and reject/sanitary waste category. Waste workers from Hasiru Dala who are erstwhile informal waste pickers collect segregated waste in two bins and one bag.. They also collect electronic waste separately. Waste after being collected is sent to respective processing units. This whole process is defined as Total Waste Management Services. In addition to that Hasiru Dala has also undertaken the following programmes
- Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC): The dry waste is brought to respective Dry waste Collection Centre set up by BBMP in each of the wards. . Bangalore Municipal body is in process of setting up 198 such centres. Hasiru Dala is providing management services for 33 out of the 198. The dry waste is sorted, graded and later sent off for recycling. All the 33 centers are operated and managed by erstwhile waste pickers and scrap dealers who have up-graded their skills. BBMP has signed individual agreements with these waste workers directly. The role of Hasiru Dala is to provide managerial support for the collection centres to function efficiently.
- Organic Waste Management (OWM): Organic waste is rich in nutrients and has a potential of making the soil more fertile. Hasiru Dala provides organic waste management services for bulk operators. Organic waste is converted to compost. The compost is then used for terrace gardens, parks etc. Waste-workers are trained in organic waste management and also counseled for employment as service providers.
- Managing garden waste: In addition to above given areas, with the help of waste pickers Hasiru Dala is providing on-site garden waste management services or transportation to nearby processing units.
- Training for Skill Up-gradation: Hasiru Dala, in collaboration with Waste Wise Trust & Jain University conducts a certificate training program for waste workers to up-grade their skills which include managerial and technical competencies. The certificate course is first of its kind in India and is becoming popular within the waste workers’ community.
- Advocacy: Hasiru Dala has been advocating at Municipal and State levels for inclusion of informal waste workers in Solid Waste Management Services. Through Hasiru Dala’s effort 6000 waste pickers have been enumerated and given BBMP identity cards. It is also pushing for inclusion of waste workers in various central and state government initiated social, health and food security measures.