Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 14:
In an attempt to formalise informal waste picking in the city, leading international organisation Practical Action launched a new campaigning in the city today. The campaign aims at providing healthier and safer living conditions for the children of these informal waste workers.
At the inception workshop organised today, Sanjeeb Kumar Mishra, Commissioner, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation said this was an innovative initiative for the welfare of the waste workers in the city. He also pointed out that there is a constant decrease in the life expectancy levels in areas around dump yards and also in areas where waste pickers live.
Mishra laid emphasis on the convergence of the concerned government departments starting from Labour department to Health and Urban Development departments along with the Women and Child Development department to help address the issues and problems more effectively. He said, since 42 cities of the state have been enlisted under the National Health Mission the health issues of the urban poor could also be addressed, said Mr Mishra.
The India Representative of Bernard van Leer Foundation Dharitri Patnaik stressed on the need to focus on the plight of young children working in this hazardous sector and urged the civil society members to make necessary interventions in the interests of these children.
Ms Sikha Srivastava from Practical action assured that their efforts will be directed towards ensuring a better living environment for the young children of waste workers.
Initially 7 slums – Rahmat nagar, Satya Nagar, Shanti Nagar, Mali Sahi, Budhha Nagar, Ashok Nagar and Reddy Sahi have been taken up on pilot basis for launching efforts to formalise this informal sector of waste picking. Baseline studies will be conducted to assess the present situation and then a proper plan can be chalked out to address the issues in a broad way, Srivastava said.
This project will also aim at increasing the enrolment of such children in schools and will lessen challenges they face while living in poor health environment.
Centre for Child and Women Development, a local organisation, will implement these projects and take up advocacy for these under-privileged children.