Why ‘Paryavaran Mitra’? (Friends of Environment)
There are 40,000 ‘Paryavaran Mitras (PMs)’ (Rag Picking Women)in Ahmedabad city. Each of them collects nearly 25kgs of wastes everyday which cumulatively amount to 1 million kgs daily. They have been involved in solid waste collection (paper, plastic etc.) for ages and work in extremely unhygienic conditions for meager pay and minimal social recognition. Their work is often looked down upon by society, partly because they are working in an unorganized sector and partly because their work is itself considered menial.
13th Nov, 2014, based on outcome of yearlong research done by students of IRMA, Manav Sadhna started a project to improve the conditions of PMs in a holistic manner—one that addresses their social, economic, and health issues. As these women are doing great service to Society and moreover to the Environment, the project has been named as ‘Paryavaran Mitra’.
What are we doing?
During the research it was established that increase in volume and basic cleaning which includes sorting & baling are the main value additions done on waste before it reaches to the end users i.e., industries/recyclers. So, we have established a waste collection center wherein PMs come with their collected waste and sell them to us. Our team segregates the purchased wastes to finer level and bales them for effective transport. Since, we are directly selling to end users we get good margin, which is returned to the PMs on quarterly basis in form of good quality grocery.
We are also training the PMs to develop useful and aesthetically beautiful products out of waste. Idea is to engage them in skill based work during their leisure time ensuring more economic returns for the household. Currently, we are focused on developing products out of waste bottles. This project has been named as Gift of Change
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