BUILDING A VISUAL ARCHIVE OF INFORMAL WASTE NETWORKS
MUSINGS ON WASTE (Part 3)
We’re excited to announce the launch of Kabadiwalla Connect’s latest initiative #InvisibleRecyclers, an Instagram campaign aimed at making informal waste networks more visible to the public. Through #InvisibleRecyclers, we want to celebrate the services of the city’s scrap-dealers and rag-pickers in recycling waste. A team of volunteers from C.A.R.E, the Eco Club from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, walked the city on April 4th 2015 to take pictures of scrap-dealers (kabadiwallas), itinerant buyers (raddiwallas) and waste-pickers, which were then uploaded on Instagram and aggregated on the Kabadiwalla Connect website.
The goal: creating visibility
Everyday, Chennai generates around 4500 tons of waste – which is dumped in landfills – and this statistic is set to exponentially grow over the years. The informal waste sector performs a vital service by keeping waste out of the landfill, and sending it to be recycled instead.
However, despite this, popular perceptions of the informal waste sector in Indian cities remain negative because of their association with waste. This isn’t the case across the globe, though – for instance, in Brazil, the government has legally acknowledged the services of informal players and implemented programs that incorporate them into formal waste management mechanisms. They are also celebrated by the public because of the work they do.
The campaign aims to create a sense of legitimacy around the players in this sector – scrap-dealers, rag-pickers and itinerant buyers, to name a few. Keeping this goal in mind, #InvisibleRecyclers was designed to create a visual archive of informal waste workers, and capture a sense of how they function.
Piloting the campaign
Around 40 volunteers from C.A.R.E spent a day in the city identifying and visually documenting scrap-dealers, rag-pickers, itinerant buyers and even communities who recycle, which were later uploaded on Instagram. The volunteers collected around 400 pictures.
Pictures that volunteers took over the weekend can be found at www.kabadiwallaconnect.in/invisiblerecyclers.
While the campaign has been launched in Chennai, we are looking to expand it to other Indian cities as well.
Some of the pictures taken as part of the campaign
Inviting community collaborators
If you’d like to contribute to #InvisibleRecyclers, here’s how:
Take a picture of scrap-dealers, waste-pickers, or anyone else in the informal waste ecosystem.
Hashtag #InvisibleRecyclers, #KabadiwallaConnect & #[your_city]. Add a description.
Keep your location services on. This helps curate photos from different cities around the world.
Post it on Instagram. Watch it come up on our site! Share this page on your social networks!