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Pune Municipal Corporation honoured at International Zero Waste Cities Conference 2023 in Philippines

One of the leading causes of climate change is unmanaged waste. The 15-year partnership of Pune Municipal Corporation and SWaCH Cooperative was highlighted during the conference held in Manila recently.

The award was given for its continuous effort to solve this challenge sustainably by building inclusive zero waste systems with the city’s waste pickers.

Asha Raut, Deputy Commissioner, Solid Waste Management Department, Pune Municipal Corporation congratulated the city on this occasion.

Lubna Anantakrishnan of Kashtakari Panchayat and Dr Ketaki Ghatge shared the learnings of Pune’s inclusive PMC-SWaCH model with representatives from different countries.

Responsible for global warming, gases like Methane and Carbon Dioxide, are emitted from organic waste. PMC is building solutions with waste pickers like composting and modular biogas to manage wet waste at-source. The effort is contributing at the city scale to divert landfilling of organic waste which is the third largest source of methane emission.

Around 40 cities, Pune too took the Global Methane Pledge. It would support presenting, these zero-waste models built by these Asian cities which are based on waste segregation, at-source wet waste management and waste picker-led material recovery, in front of the world.

The successful zero waste strategy designed by Pune Municipal Corporation and SWaCH waste pickers would be recognised as an ideal working model to implement better waste management systems in other cities.

Lubna Anantkrishan, Managing Trustee, Kashtakari Panchayat, said “On behalf of waste pickers from Pune, I’d like to say very strongly that we are with you, we are partners in Zero Waste, [and] we are partners in the movement against plastic. We want to work towards turning off the tap. We are part of the solution but we need to be part of it. Don’t leave us out. Zero Waste without waste pickers is garbage.”

Dr Ketaki Ghatge, Assistant Medical Officer, Department of Solid Waste Management, Pune Municipal Corporation, said “Informal waste pickers are not weak at all. They might be poor but they are innovative and resilient. So we should empower them, not disenfranchise them. We shouldn’t exclude them but we should integrate them as Pune has. We should not replace them but we need to upgrade them.”

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