India has over 5 million sanitation workers, including government-employed sanitation workers; privately contracted door-to-door garbage collectors; and waste pickers who work in the informal sector. While there is no official data, it is estimated that up to 1.5 million persons are engaged in waste picking in India.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hardest on the vulnerable and most marginalised, such as waste pickers – burdening them with disproportionate ill-health and the secondary effects of the pandemic.
ARISE’s work with waste pickers in urban informal spaces in Indian cities has enabled us to walk alongside community members during this difficult time. Using participatory methods, we have captured evidence that reflects their various concerns and desires.
This ARISE Voice Quilt brings the voices of individual waste workers to the fore, through a novel multi-media project that integrates audio, written text and images.