PUNE: SWaCH Pune Cooperative officials say that Puneites from several areas are helping them, but more and more people should come out in their support as waste pickers across the city are struggling to make their ends meet.
In the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, around 3,500 waste pickers of the SWaCH Pune Cooperative, authorised by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), have continued providing door-to-door waste collection service across Pune City. NGOs are finding different ways to honour them and also supplying them with food and other material like equipment.
Waste picker Rekha Chagan Kuchekar who collects garbage at Parijat Colony, Sus-Pashan area, was recently greeted with applause and monetary help by the locals.
“Many waste pickers cannot make any money as recycling has stopped and we cannot pay even for our day-to-day groceries. But when our work is valued, we are encouraged to do better,” she said.
Natraj Society in Kothrud chose to commemorate its waste picker Mahadev Dhawne and other sanitation workers in their areas by issuing a notice to all their members and a certificate of appreciation to Mahadev.
Suman More, SWaCH Board Chairperson, said that waste pickers working in slum areas had been the most compassionate of all. “They continue to work despite not getting even their rightful dues. The residents themselves do not have any work and thus have not paid for waste collection. However, they have not stopped collecting waste from the slums even for a single day,” she added.
“With shops and hotels also closed down, we have a slightly lighter load from these places, but it also means that we have to wait to be paid our regular fees till they open hopefully,” said waste picker Suman Devidas Jadhav who services to some commercial establishments, along with homes.
If the citizens wish to make contributions in support of SWaCH waste pickers, they can call 9765999500 or visit the website www.swachcoop.com.