Africa and Sub-Saharan African Environmental IssuesEnvironmental IssuesPollution

International Waste Pickers’ Day: Ghanaians express gratitude

As the world celebrates International Waste Pickers day, some Ghanaians have expressed gratitude to their compatriots who are committed to picking waste in the country. International Waste Pickers’ Day is observed on March 1 to mark the Colombian massacre that led to 11 workers’ brutal death. This day seeks to give voice and recognition to waste pickers/recyclers across the world

In Ghana, informal waste pickers play a vital role in solid waste management, working in tandem with formal waste collection and disposal providers to supplement their efforts. Informal waste pickers’ recycling operations help significantly to reducing environmental degradation and boosting economic growth by lowering waste management costs and giving income opportunities for a large number of impoverished people. They are frequently harassed, disrespected, and treated brutally while having to constantly breathe disgusting stench from more than 30 thousand tonnes of rubbish generated every day. Waste pickers who are undervalued and underpaid, do not even have a place in social security schemes.

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According to a recent WIEGO study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Accra’s informal laborers, garbage pickers and their families bear the burden of the pandemic. According to the survey, waste pickers’ incomes have decreased due to lower prices and volumes of recyclable waste items. Notwithstanding these aforementioned challenges, Ghanaian waste pickers have remained resolute in performing their responsibilities.

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Speaking to, some Ghanaians however, expressed gratitude to waste pickers, referring to them as saviors. “It is a difficult job for everyone to do, it takes determination to wake each morning just to pick trash bins from people’s house. I appreciate them a lot. May God bless all of them”. – Mrs. Quansah, a Ghanaian trader

Also, Mr. Agyemang, a trader at Makola market in Accra made an appeal to the Minister of Sanitation to provide proper measures that will ensure that waste pickers are well paid. He believes the more waste pickers, the cleaner our cities will become. Waste pickers will be key to Ghana’s policy of making Accra the cleanestt city in Africa.





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