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Millions of Impoverished Ragpickers unlikely Mascots of Fight against Climate Change

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Ragpicking is a developing and poor country concept alien to developed countries of the West busy bickering over responsibility over carbon emissions.Millions of people in India earn their livelihood by sorting garbage and picking out recyclable materials like paper,aluminium and glass.This typcially earns $1-$3 a day which way below poverty line wages is still comparable to what 80% of what Indians earn.Their are an estimate 300,000 ragpickers in major Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi who live amongst garbage pretty much since they are born.More than 40% of the ragpickers are children and have to endure toxic materials which comes as a part of the job.

These ragpickers  play an incredibly useful part in the fight against climate change as they recycle materials which would have been incinerated and contribute to carbon emissions contributing to global warming.While 191 countries at the Cancun Climate Change meet and fight each other without any hope for a Global Deal on reducing carbon emissions,ragpickers are an unlikely mascot for climate change activists.Ragpickers have been complaining about increasing mechanization and privatization of solid waste materials which leads to more greenhouse warming as it recyles less.Perhaps rich country leaders as well as leaders of poor ones as well need to spend a week as ragpickers to change their perspective on climate change.While billions and trillions are spend on useless bailouts of financial institutions and defense industry,the most pressing challenge to humanity goes unaddressed.


Abhishek Shah

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