Monday, June 1, 2020
 
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UNDP India provided support to Corona Frontline Warriors



Jammu, May 23 (Scoop News)-The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented lockdowns in response everywhere has upset normal life and sent shockwaves through the formal and informal economy. Considering that waste management is an essential service, the multitude of municipal safai karamcharis and informal waste pickers (safai sathis, as we call them) continue to be on the forefront of the crisis

In the background of the challenging circumstances, the informal waste sector workers have become one of the most vulnerable to contracting the virus, given their working and living conditions. Like daily wage labourers from other industries, their incomes too have taken a huge hit as the country remains under lockdown, and the economy reels under its effects.


“The world might go into lockdown, but the waste never stops.”
Considering the high-risk environment that they work in, UNDP India and Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages has started a Project entitled, “ Plastic Waste Management Programme” through its Implementation Partner i.e. Regional and Urban Development Agency which involves strengthening of municipal waste management through a socio-technical model, setting up of Swachhta Kendra (Material Recovery Facility) and supporting Safai Sathis through social inclusion and occupational safety training. Through the implementation Partner it provided them with social protection, safety net and access to basic services. In order to ensure the safety of safai sathis, trainings and awareness sessions were organized by our Implementation Partner in various wards of Jammu Municipal Corporation. The project is also working towards creating opportunities for ‘economic response and recovery’ services.

The current COVID-19 situation has compounded risks for the safai sathis as they are exposed to used cloths, tissues, discarded masks, gloves and other hazardous substances (household municipal waste) that may be contaminated with the virus. Waste generation has not slowed down during the lockdown. Unless the waste is properly collected and managed, it could lead to other sanitation problems and health issues. While the safai sathis are at the centre of the waste management ecosystem, these informal workers barely have the safety net to manage through this pandemic.
As part of this project, we have ensured that

• All safai sathis have been sensitized on COVID-19- on the current situation and its implications on daily lives. They are encouraged to promptly report on any symptoms of illness they or their family members experience. They were also guided on proper respiratory hygiene and effective handwashing as per WHO guidelines.

• Field teams regularly monitor and explain to the safai sathis the importance of other behavioural aspects of prevention against COVID-19, such as social distancing at home and work

Another consequence of the lockdown is the severe loss of livelihoods, as most safai sathis depend on a daily wage. Out of work and with no cash in hand, they urgently require external interventions to make ends meet.

UNDP and its Implementation Partner i.e. Regional and Urban Development Agency through the project have provided Food and Hygiene kits comprised of of rice, pulses, salt, Haldi, Mirch, oil and vegetables to more than 400 safai sathi families in Jammu so far to assist the Government of India in their endeavour of ensuring that ‘No one will go hungry’ and ‘no one is left behind’.

Municipal Corporators of JMC from intervention wards also facilitated and supported our endeavours by facilitating distribution of Ration and Hygiene kits to poor safai sathi families. This has ensured that the safai sathis can continued to work and earn their living, while helping manage waste inflow through this lockdown.

UNDP is committed to the job at hand and is prepared to support the government and the community in the days to come.

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