Like in most other countries, waste management is a function entrusted to the local bodies in Bangladesh. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 waste pickers work in Dhaka alone. It employs women and children and waste picking children in Dhaka are popularly known as 'tokai'.
The recycling industry is a lucrative trade in Bangladesh with nearly 200 factories engaged in recycling plastic bottles. The end product is exported to China and Thailand to be converted to nylon and related products.
Majority of the waste pickers are illiterate and work long hours to eke a meager living. Many are below the poverty line and work in hazardous conditions. Sorting in bins and dumpsites, they handle household waste alongside hazardous hospital waste directly, as no protective gear such as masks or gloves are provided.
BLF activities for waste pickers -
Lobbying for the rights of waste pickers
Awareness campaign for changing our attitude toward the domestic workers
Ensure health and safety facilities for the waste pickers
Establishing labour rights for domestic workers