Sushila Sable-From Waste Picker to Ambassador of Climate Change
Sushila Sable along with her
mother came to Mumbai at the age of 10 with her mother in seach of a livelihood
but ended up as a waste picker. However, that did not deter her from working
hard and two decades later she was involved with the volunteers of Stree Mukti
Sanghatana, a local NGO,which helped her understand the importance of
segregating plastic waste before selling it. Within two years, she had saved
enough money to start a dry waste collection centre with the self-help group
she had created. The segregation of waste helped increase her income.
Unsegregated waste ends up in landfills and open dumps. Burning of unsegregated waste leads to release of harmful articulate matter in the air, rest stinks in landfills releasing methane adding to climate change.
"UNDP, in partnership with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, works with 30,000 such waste pickers, most of whom are women, to better manage 85000 metric tonnes of plastic waste, while improving the socio-economic conditions of these waste pickers. Through this initiative, PRITHVI, we aim to reduce over 60,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions, through effective plastic collection, with safaii saathis like Sushila forming the backbone of this initiative," according to UNDP India.
Today, Sushila is the elected
president of the Indian Waste Picker Society and represented India at the UN
Framework for Climate Change in Copenhagen 2009, Bejing 2010, Durban 2011, and
Rio 2012, where she spoke on the critical role waste pickers play in combating
climate change. “Safaii saathi’s are crucial in the fight against climate
change. 1000 kg of waste that is recycled by safaii saathi’s saves 17 trees
from felling. I am pleased to be helping the environment and being a role model
for women in similar conditions like me”.