In many Indian houses there is no waste segregation at all, although India has a long history of waste segregation as well recycling. It is an interesting fact, that 60% of waste in India is recycled, which is not a bad result considering we are 1.3 billion people. Who is behind all of this?
India has a long tradition of rag pickers, people who come to our homes and collect the garbage. This people then separate the items, which can be sold to the recycling companies. From the mixer of our garbage of wet and dry waste they pick out materials like plastic bottles, paper, glass and metal which can be easily recycled. We call them Kabari. This is the way how 1 million people in India earn money for living.
Have you ever thought about the fact that somebody has to take care of all the waste which we produce? What if one day nobody comes to collect your garbage? I am sure we are not thinking about the waste we produce.
But they do. And we will have to think about it as well.
The waste system in India made us lazy and spoiled. It is not regulated by municipal; it is way to make money for low caste Kabari. We don’t feel bad, because we think somebody is making money out of our trash. Somebody has a work because of us.
Is it true? Can we justify it?
We are living in a segregation of people. Even if we don’t believe in the caste system anymore, it is unfortunately still not eradicated. One the best examples will be rag pickers, who have a work which is considered as one of the lowest ways of working in the society. Their kids often don’t go to school, because their parents need them to pick out the useful trash from the bins. They are waking up early in the morning to earn enough every single day. They are searching for good spots like tourist places, where they can find the most plastic bottles which bring the most profit.
But In the end of the day, are our roads and parks clean?
The result of this kind of system is that they just pick the garbage which can be easily recycled and can generate profit. Everything else is mixed in big containers and dumped in to the land. Waste is destroying our land for agriculture, poisoning our drinking water, polluting our air and affecting our health. Our wet kitchen waste is mixed with dry waste and made some reusable items non reusable at all. Kabari’s Kids are not going to schools. We are reaming the status quo in the Indian society. We are not reducing the poverty.
Segregation is important because if we segregate properly we can actually recycle more than 90% of our waste! India is presenting 18% of world population and produces 3% of world waste. It means that comparing to USA or China, India produces less waste. But the problem is that waste is not segregated properly. In India is categorized as “other waste material” more than 60% of the waste.
In couple of years, population in India will increase drastically. We will produce much more waste because of the growth of population as well because of the growth of our economy.
It is a responsibility of all of us. With a good segregation we will not just take care of environment, but we will also bring more justice into society. That will happen only, if every one of us will be involved in the process of waste management.
“If I start to segregate my own waste, I will take away jobs from so many people!” We will not take away jobs from the people, not at all. Every society in our trash world needs waste management and service that take care of it. But let’s make this job more appropriate for people. Let′s recycle as much as we can with technology which we have these days. Let′s send kids to the schools, instead of send them to pick the garbage. Let′s give them a childhood which they deserve. And in the end – respect the work of garbage pickers!
Segregate your plastic materials, paper, and glass; use your own kitchen waste for compost. Your contribution is a bingo! You will help environment as well as a million of people. And you know what? It is super easy and it doesn’t take much time. All you need is different boxes or bags for your waste material. Start today!!!
Member of Vatavaran team