Waste Recyclers Fiji Ltd Director and CEO, Amitesh Deo says they are working on the formation of a best practice hub to support the informal waste pickers which will ensure sustainability and well-being for this un-valued group.
Deo says informal waste pickers are individuals who collect recyclables as their main source of income and most of these individuals collect recyclables from public places or from dumpsites, where they are more likely to find recyclables but must endure difficult, often dangerous, conditions with little to no protective equipment.
He says for over 26 years, they have worked closely with the informal waste picker community in Fiji and understand the struggles and stigma that is attached with the trade.
Deo further says due to the social stigma against this essential work, waste pickers are often some of the most economically vulnerable communities and yet, as the informal waste management sector exists on the margins of the law, they face limitations in regulations to protect their work.
He says these dangerous conditions can worsen the quality of life and the life expectancy of these waste pickers while the inherent dangers are exacerbated by a lack of access to healthcare and unsanitary living conditions while the global COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded these health risks.
Deo also says waste pickers are, however, a vital part of the waste ecosystem and in many developing countries, the informal sector is the only mechanism that collects and separates recyclables from waste.
The CEO further adds not only do waste pickers keep our cities clean and prevent plastic waste from leaking into our environment, they serve a crucial role in unlocking the value of our waste.
Deo says one of the key components of their 2022 Global Recycle Day campaign is a call for recognition and understanding of work done by the informal waste-picker groups in Fiji.
He says 2022 Global Recycling Day which will be celebrated today will be dedicated as a special tribute to the informal waste picker community in Fiji and the Pacific region.
The event is in partnership with Swire Shipping, IUCN, FNU, Asco Motors, BSP Life, Pacific Energy, Tanoa Plaza and CFL.
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