ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

A clean up act

A clean up act
Highlights

Swachh Bharat Mission seems to be slowly bringing about a welcome change in the mindset of governments as well as people. There is a perceptible climate change, of a different sort, in their attitude towards environment. 

Swachh Bharat Mission seems to be slowly bringing about a welcome change in the mindset of governments as well as people. There is a perceptible climate change, of a different sort, in their attitude towards environment.

For the first time, the Centre has spoken of the most neglected lot in the informal sector. It has turned spotlight on the plight of millions of ragpickers in the country, in the draft Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

It proposes to enlist their services, and even give away national awards with a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh to three best ragpickers and three NGOs every year.

Over 60 million tonnes of solid waste is generated in India a year, of which only 12 million tonnes are treated. The Centre intends registration as well as rehabilitation of ragpickers to ensure their uplift earnestly.

In the plans for them are provision of better healthcare, criminalisation of open burning of waste, ban on open dumping of sanitary napkins and diapers, assistance in scientific segregation of waste etc. Though initiated in their name, these measures will go a long way in preventing detrimental effects on environment.

While the draft focuses on effective macro management of waste, recognition of waste pickers’ services is timely and heart-warming. They are rendering yeoman services to keep India clean. Often looked down upon by the society, as next only to manual scavengers, they toil among stinking and harmful mounds of waste.

One can see them, from kids to very old, sifting with empty hands for glass, plastic, paper, and even hazardous materials like batteries. They go from street to street, scavenging garbage cans, before scrounging around in dumping grounds.

They subsist on any leftover food – usually after scaring away strays. No government benefits like ration, insurance, housing etc are extended to them. Yet, however ignoble they look to the society, they do not steal or beg despite extreme poverty, and carry out their job of picking the best from the worst.

At last, the new rules seek to promise a new life for these slum dogs. While adults are rehabilitated, children should be weaned away and provided with education and healthcare, even stay in welfare hostels.

Experiments abroad show there is a great business sense in management of solid waste, including e-waste, and the sector is given an industry status. In India, governments do experiment with contractors in waste management, but always turn a blind eye to waste pickers.

The Centre will shortly call for public suggestions and views before grounding the scheme in the latter part of the year. It is incumbent upon all of us to pitch in with suggestions, and help better the lot of rag pickers, for the sake of a clean and green India.

Hitherto, waste management schemes and measures have been half-baked. Only political initiatives and strict oversight can set the ball rolling and turn it into a national campaign on the lines of Swachh Bharat.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar made right sounds about his noble aims; he must follow them up with right action. Otherwise, it will be another “Oh, what a waste?”

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
More Stories


Top