Promoting green and decent jobs creation in the waste value chain sector in India (specifically bio-medical, plastic and chemical wastes)

Project aims at building national and just transition in municipal, solid and liquid waste management with focus on bio-medical, plastic and chemical which has seen rise due to COVID 19 pandemic. Expected Results a) Gender-responsive measures recommended or adopted by one or more constituents for green recovery, through value chain development, informed by the JT Guidelines and R204 b) Gender responsive city-level tripartite JT strategy for comprehensive green development of WM sector in Pune and Ahmedabad city through decent work

The waste value chain in India predominantly operates through informal means involving waste pickers and casual contractors who handle the collection, sorting, and recycling of waste. These labourers unfortunately encounter subpar working conditions with meager compensation.

As part of the project, ILO and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have built a strategic partnership through an all-encompassing Roadmap for Action that fosters a conducive environment and promotes dialogue for JT of waste value chain. It involves activities such as collectivization and formalization of waste recyclers, identification of pathways for waste recyclers to move upwards in the value chain, providing financial literacy and business management training, imparting knowledge on occupational safety and health and ongoing feasibility studies on the most optimal and effective ways to transform waste into valuable resources (such as biogas and compost), thereby contributing to India's pursuit of accomplishing the Circular Economy goals. The roadmap is actioned in collaboration with SWACH – a cooperative of waste recyclers.

The Ahmedabad initiative centres around formalizing the informal waste recyclers and sanitation workers and their access to social protection. Supported by the State Labour Department of the Government of Gujarat, and along with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) significant milestones have been achieved such as formalizing the waste workers through collectivization and union memberships. The project is working closely with central trade unions implementing partners (INTUC, BMS and SEWA). Along with SEWA, the project is establishing a Value Creation Centre for mechanized waste sorting and aggregation.

In collaboration with FICCI, the project initiated an all-encompassing industrial dialogue which focused on sustainability and a just transition. This was achieved through a series of sensitization webinars within the sector, addressing concerns such as hazardous waste, occupational safety and health (OSH), extended producer responsibility (EPR), and waste-to-wealth strategies. This assisted the smaller enterprises in cultivate a green vision with an environmentally conscious perspective.

The various research studies conducted:

1) Value Chain Diagnosis;
2) Developing a city scale system for the safe and sustainable management of Domestic Hazardous Waste (DHCBW);
3) identification and integration of waste workers in waste management planning;
4) Incorporating Occupational Safety and Health (OSH); and
5) Generating green job opportunities through waste-to-wealth initiatives.
A comprehensive JT toolkit is in progress that compiles recommendations for promoting decent work, improving the sustainable management of green livelihoods in wastes and addressing circularity challenges. Technical notes, research and various intervention reports establish the basic groundwork for formulating national strategies in developing a gender-responsive and inclusive SMART city.

For further information please contact:

Ms Pallavi Mansingh
National Project Coordinator