Support for waste pickers in Delhi

Informal waste pickers and recyclers are critical to waste management in India. In Delhi, guided by Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, these workers are organizing to ensure their security and dignity, and also providing inputs to Delhi’s masterplan to help curb the menace of plastic waste in the city. Chintan trains waste pickers and advocates for their job security in the waste sector, while also helping with education of children of waste picker communities. They also run a collaborative project with New Delhi railways to collect, sort and recycle waste at the New Delhi railway station.

In response to COVID-19, Chintan jumped into action as soon as the lockdown was announced as waste picker families were one of the hardest hit population in Delhi.


  1. Chintan  has distributed over 2000 dry ration kits so far to families in 11 zones of Delhi. Each kit consisted of basic supplies such as Rice, Flour, Dal, Oil, Salt, and Sugar with an intention to support a family of 6 at the rate of Rs 3300/kit.
  2. Chintan also worked with local organizations and the local Delhi government to distribute cooked food to 70 families.
  3. Chintan’s children’s learning center training staff worked to produce 5000 cloth masks from old clothes and bedsheets to provide protection during these times of unavailability of expensive masks.
  4. Waste collection is an essential service and the lives of waste pickers are therefore vulnerable to the highly infectious Covid-19. Chintan trained over 70 waste pickers on handwashing and hygienic waste collection during this period to minimize infection. Chintan continues to train children as well on effective hand washing and social distancing measures and the children have also taken to spreading the awareness on these topics within their local communities.
  5. Chintan has been advocating with the Delhi government to include the informal waste pickers in the Covid relief program that provides Rs 5000/family. Waste pickers’ livelihood is severely impacted by the lockdown measures resulting in loss of income from their inability to sell the waste they sort.

AID is supporting Chintan, and several other partners across India. Donate to our Covid relief fund so that we can support more underprivileged communities live a life of dignity during the global pandemic.

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