Waste pickers’ situation, contribution discussed

Waste picker
Waste picker. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Oxfam held a meeting on Monday with representatives of non-governmental organizations and representatives of the private and public sectors to discuss a recent study managed by Oxfam and compiled by LDK consultants, and purported to assess the condition of the waste sector in Jordan, the situation of waste pickers and their important role in recycling. اضافة اعلان

NGO representatives were consulted on the report and its most prominent outputs in order to help issue recommendations that would develop the report before sending it to the stakeholders, including public entities and some private sector institutions, who, in turn, should come up with decisions related to developing and regulating the work of the waste picking sector.

This study is part of the Turning Waste into Positive Energy project funded by the (EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented through the German Foundation for International Cooperation in partnership with Oxfam.

It is based on interviews with waste pickers, scrap dealers, brokers and contractors in different governorates of the Kingdom, as well as stakeholders from relevant ministries and municipalities.

It also illustrates the economic and environmental contribution of waste pickers in Jordan, especially as they have a major role in collecting and sorting recyclable materials from waste and providing low-cost materials that are used in local industries, as well as their important role in protecting the environment.

According to the study, Amman sits atop Jordanian governorates in informal waste pickers, with more than 3,000 pickers involved in this sector, followed by Irbid and Zarqa, with some 1,500-2,000 pickers each. The study also revealed that 50 percent of the pickers entered the sector before the age of 20, and 83 percent worked for more than five years in the sector.

It also revealed that around 50 percent of pickers involved are aged 30 to 44, and that pickers interviewed work six days a week, between 6 and 8 am, with about 10 percent starting before 6 am.

Abdallah Taani, project manager at LDK consultants, told Jordan News that “some of them categorically rejected legislation that controls and regulates their work, and the reason for this is the presence of legal problems, for some”, while others prefer legislation as it would improve their income and social condition, by including them in social security and health insurance.

Wael Safi, director of the GIZ project in Jordan, expressed hope that informal recycling activities will receive the attention and support they deserve.

He told Jordan News that the activities in this sector need to be regulated through legislation and an enabling environment through the cooperation of all parties in society, individuals and government, and through creating a nurturing and supportive environment.

More figures on waste pickers

Pickers in other governorates:

Madaba: 250-500
Salt: 250-500
Mafraq: 250-500
Aqaba: 250-500
Karak: 250–500
Jerash: 200-300 (especially in tourist areas)
Ajloun: 200-300 (especially in tourist areas)
Maan: 100-200
Tafileh: 100-200

- The vast majority of those involved in informal waste picking are Jordanian men.

- Only about 70 percent of respondents have school education.

- Over 80 percent have no access to other financial resources.

- About 50 percent work beyond 5 pm with nearly 30 percent end their working day after 8 pm.

- 12 percent of waste pickers who took part in the study do not have access to health care.

- 50 percent reported making between JD150 and JD250 per month.

- 56 percent said that health issues constitute the highest risk associated with their job.

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