Coronavirus Pandemic: These Pune waste-pickers are working without gloves, masks!

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 24 March 2020

“We are trying to get stock of hand gloves and masks for our workers. Actually, the masks and gloves are only available with the wholesalers as retail shops have been closed. In this situation, the least the housing societies could provide disposable gloves which are still easily available at medical stores, to their regular waste pickers,” said Harshad Barde of SWaCH.

Prajakta Joshi

PUNE: When the entire country has gone into lockdown and people isolating them to combat the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), here are the several waste pickers who have been in forefront to keep the city clean were working without masks and gloves putting their lives in danger. These waste pickers are those who have been not associated with any unions.

Organisations working for the waste pickers and sanitation workers have appealed to provide some basic hygiene products to their waste pickers in this situation of crisis.

“We are trying to get stock of hand gloves and masks for our workers. Actually, the masks and gloves are only available with the wholesalers as retail shops have been closed. In this situation, the least the housing societies could provide disposable gloves which are still easily available at medical stores, to their regular waste pickers,” said Harshad Barde of SWaCH.

Recently, Cummins India also provided around 4,000 SWaCH workers with hygiene products kits. Each kit consisted of a pair of hand gloves, two cloth masks, and two soaps.

“Those who are not associated with such organisations or unions, are the ones who are suffering as there is shortage of gloves in the market. It’s upto the housing societies to help such waste pickers,” Barde said.

WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR WASTE PICKERS?

1) Buy disposable latex/plastic gloves and regular masks from your nearest medical store, and give it to the waste pickers.
2) Instruct them on how to use the gloves, ask them to dispose of the gloves after single use.
3) Provide them with access to soap and water immediately to wash their hands after they get rid of the gloves.

SEPARATE GARBAGE DISPOSAL FOR HOME-QUARANTINED

Those who have been confined to home quarantine due to suspicion of COVID-19 have been asked by the Pune Municipal Corporation not to dispose of their garbage with other people.

“We have assigned five vehicles for five zones to collect garbage from the people in home quarantine, as per the list that we have been provided. The vehicles will collect garbage from these homes individually, which will be disposed of in our biomedical waste incinerators,” PMC Solid Waste Management Department Head Dnyaneshwar Molak said.

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