New Delhi: In a bid to integrate and offer better working conditions to kabadiwalas and ragpickers in the national capital, civic body officials are working on a scheme to bring them under a formal organised system.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation along with its East Delhi counterpart is going to start a zero waste management project on a pilot basis in Dwarka and West Vinod Nagar area.
"The aim is to integrate and formalize the services of ragpickers. These people work in extremely unhealthy environmental conditions. The need of the hour is to bring them under the formal system of collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of wastes," said South Delhi Municipal Commissioner (SDMC) Manish Gupta, who is also the acting Commissioner of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
Under the zero waste management initiative, these ragpickers will be organised by NGOs and each one of them would be alotted 150 housholds.
The municipal corporation will provide them support with infrastructure and protective gears like gloves, uniform, bins, rickshaw and identity cards. Then they would go from house to house with two bins and collect the dry and wet wastes separately for which they will also charge a nominal fee, like Rs 30 a month.
Then they will transport the wastes to the facility centre where they will be provided a sorting shed, so that they can sort the dry wastes like plastic, polythene bags, bottles into various components and sell it off to recyclers themselves. The wet wastes will be put into biomechanisation plants to generate methane gas which in turn could be used for producing electricity.
The wastes like peels of fruits and vegetables will be dumped in compost pits while the remaining will be sent to the landfill.
According to Gupta, these ragpickers are of great help to our society and are providing an important service.
"They extract about 40 per cent of wastes generated and put them into recycling. All municipal corporations generate an estimated 7000-8000 tonnes of solid wastes. Had these ragpickers been not working, the amount would have been 13000-14000 tonnes per day. Without them, the entire waste-to-energy model would have been a failure.
"Under the zero waste management initiative, these recyclable wastes will be increased to about 70 per cent," said Gupta.
North Delhi Municipal Commissioner P K Gupta said, "We are planning to come out with a scheme to organize them into a cooperative society and give them the responsibility of maintaining the public urinals and toilets so that they get more income. Also, protective gears would be prodivided to them save them any kind of health hazard.
According to civic officials there are more than 15000 ragpickers across the city who work under hazardous conditions.