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Provide safety gear to pourakarmikas every month

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They sort our garbage into wet and dry, ferry it all to the nearest transit point and load it manually into compactors. That’s the daily routine of Bengaluru’s pourakarmikas or conservancy workers.

Often, it's mounds of biodegradable waste cleared from the road, the stench overpowering.

In July 2018, a news report stated that some pourakarmikas had contracted jaundice because of their unsafe work. One of them, Lakshmamma, died as she couldn’t take medicines because of mouth ulcers. Moreover, she hadn’t been paid for four months.

This can’t go on. Sign my petition to get comfortable safety equipment like gloves, masks and boots for all pourakarmikas in Bengaluru and to make it mandatory that they wear this gear at a work site.
It's laudable that Bengaluru is among the few Indian cities segregating the maximum percentage of waste at source, but the plight of the workers, who are instrumental in keeping the city clean, is deplorable.


I filed an RTI with the Solid Waste Management Department of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to find out how often these workers need to be provided with safety gear, and when was the last time they were given training on the need to wear them. I received a six-page reply, but it had no answers to any of my questions.

I have interacted with many pourakarmikas and a majority of them tell me that they do not get safety equipment on a regular basis. Sometimes it's once in four to six months or even longer. Others tell me that they all get to don gloves and masks whenever there's an inspection. Some, who have worn safety gear, say they don't last long, especially gloves, which tear after a couple of uses.


Then there's a bigger challenge. Most pourakarmikas are not used to wearing such equipment at work. Many are not comfortable working with safety gear, unmindful of the health hazard.

This is why it’s important to not only provide them with adequate gear but also to make it mandatory for them to wear it.
In times of Swachh Bharat, it's essential that BBMP bring more dignity to the lives of men and women working to keep our city clean.


Sign my petition to get the BBMP to provide comfortable, durable safety gears to all pourakarmikas at least twice a month and to make it mandatory that they wear these whenever they are on a work site.

Like the many strides that BBMP has made in waste management with the help of resident welfare associations and NGOs, this can also be achieved.

Please sign and share my petition if you think pourakarmikas deserve their basic right to lead a healthy life with dignity.