Id cards

Integrating informal waste workers through identity cards issued by the municipal government

The primary objective of this project is to achieve the de-criminalization of waste-picking through the introduction of of Corporation of Chennai issued Identity Cards to waste pickers in Chennai city. This project is undertaken by CAG as part of the Initiative on Waste, Informal Workers, and Chennai’s Future, which CAG anchors.

Informal waste workers, referred to as rag pickers or waste pickers form the backbone of waste recycling in the city. They provide an invaluable service to the city as well as to the environment by diverting large amount of wastes from landfills towards recycling. However, due to archaic provisions in the Corporation of Chennai Act, that have remain unchanged since 1919, their source of livelihood is legally questionable. As  a result they face constant harassment from the authorities. Additionally, the work itself carries with it a social stigma, making waste pickers amonst the most vulnerable of the urban poor.