The hue and cry over waste dumping is nothing new in the city. But with piles of garbage mounting in every nook and cranny and authorities constantly shirking responsibility, the painstaking efforts of a group is going unnoticed.
Namely, the role played by the waste collectors. When City Express contacted a couple of them while they were in the middle of their duty near Edappally over bridge, they narrated their experience and said how they were made to feel worse than scavengers. And for this they do not blame the authorities, but the public! The state that the callous approach of the common people they encounter has slackened their morale. “In a hurry to get away after disposing of the garbage in broad daylight, they do not even notice that they often end up throwing
the waste at us. Earlier, they would dispose the waste in the wee hours when no one saw them. Now they have come out of the smoke screen. Be it day or night, it does not matter to them,” the waste collectors observe. They point out instances where they have stopped people from throwing garbage. “When caught, some of them apologies while a majority of them show the least bit of concern,” says Asokan,( name changed) a waste collector. They also mockingly observe how they meet a lot of women joggers in a certain area early in the morning. “Their jogging ends when they reach the mount of garbage. It is just to throw the garbage,” says Anitha, another waste collector ( name changed ).Another problem is that of newspaper agents’ recklessly throwing plastic covers, which they use to cover newspapers during monsoons, into the various drains.
“This blocks the drains and we have to remove plastics with our own hands,” she says. Their daily work schedule is meant to be from 6 am till noon. However, with limited resources at their disposal to collect waste, they are constantly overburdened with work and the hours stretch till 6 pm. One of the waste collector’s notes that though they remove the garbage deposited at various points, the continuous dumping of waste by the people has led to everyone believing that the authorities are asleep at wheels. “We are appointed by the authorities to remove the waste and we are adept in our duty. So how can the people blame the authorities,” he asks.
They however agree that the authorities may be failing to act more stringently with respectto waste menace.
“Had the public been more responsible and human, this issue could have been better resolved,“ they opine.