Originally published in the Deccan Herald

Who can throw light on the waste management of Bengaluru better than the waste-pickers themselves? A waste-picker from childhood, Indira Raja (in pic) did just that. On Monday, she got a chance to speak on city’s waste management at an international conference.

Indira, who is into her late 30s and a mother of two children was chosen by Hasiru Dala, a city-based organisation of waste-pickers and waste workers, to speak at the third session of the Preparatory Committee of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Surabaya, Indonesia. The conference is organised by Global Social Economy Forum ( GSEF) along with partner organisations.

On Monday, she got a chance to speak to participants from across the world about the municipal corporation, challenges in informal sector of waste-pickers, importance of waste segregation and related issues. Kabir Arora, who coordinates Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (AIW), accompanied her and translated her Kannada speech. She was the lone person to represent Bengaluru in the event.

A member of Hasiru Dala, Indira picks scrap papers, cardboards and other waste from Chickpet, Avenue Road and surrounding areas . Last year, another waste-picker from the city, Mansoor Ahmed, was handpicked for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP (Conference Of Parties) 21. Indira’s trip was sponsored by Hasiru Dala, which is a secretariat of AIW.

Indira told Deccan Herald that she was very excited to take part in the event and it was her first international trip. Indira managed to send some pictures as well to staff from Hasiru Dala from the conference venue where in many global representatives were present. Nalini Shekhar, co-founder of organisation ( Hasiru Dala) said: “ This is the opportunity for waste pickers to interact, learn and speak about the garbage management at an international platform.”

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