At every crisis, CREASION has always come at the forefront to provide assistance to the affected. The COVID-19 global pandemic and its consequences has uprooted the lives of many including waste workers. CREASION acknowledges the hardships and contributions of waste workers and has initiated the Waste Workers Emergency Relief Project (WWERP) in support of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The WWERP has partnered with different waste management organisations to reach out to more waste workers. Through ration packages, safety gears and awareness, the project aims to ensure the safety and well-being of waste workers affected by the ongoing pandemic and the lockdown.
The project has already reached out to waste workers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Chitwan, Parsa, Sarlahi and Saptari.
The project has aimed to reach out to a total of 3200 waste workers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Chitwan and Eastern Nepal.
The formal as well as informal sector waste workers have been reached out through our consortium partnersand local governments. They have helped us have a wider outreach of the project and reach out to a large number of waster workers. The facilitation of distribution of relief materials has also been done by them.
WWERP aims to act as a cushion against the probable scarcity and the risks of the disease that waste workers and their families have been facing due to #COVID- 19. The project provides waste workers with ration materials that is estimated to be enough for a family of five for one month. It consists of rice along with other non- perishable food items such as lentils, sugar, salt, soybean, gram and oil.Soaps along with other general medicines, reusable sanitary pads, safety gears which include protective jumpsuits, masks, gloves are also provided.
The project has a medical officer who accompanies the team in every distribution site and provides awareness sessions and medical consultations. The awareness sessions are related to the use and removal of masks, gloves, reusable sanitary pads, protective gears as well as the proper technique of hand washing.
Hospitals and Isolation Centres
Pairs of Surgical Gloves
Front line workers who invest their day and night to fight COVID-19 have been denied basic necessities required to survive the outbreak themselves. Basic necessities such as protective gears, masks, gloves, goggles required for them to continue with their work without any hurdles have been insufficient. This has put their lives at risk as well as jeopardized the safety of others as well.
CREASION in support from the Bhrikuti Devi Trust came forward with assistance for the front liners working during the COVID-19. To support them, PPE suits, N95 Masks, Surgical Gloves, Safety Goggles, Shoe Covers and Hair Covers were provided to the front liners working in 24 hospitals and isolation centres of Province 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. Security personnel were also assisted by providing safety gears.
Hospitals and Isolation Centres
Waste Workers Reached
Waste workers stationed to manage hospital waste are at a greater risk. They are already devoid of proper knowledge for safe waste management and the risky situation brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened their situation and exposed them to more vulnerabilities.
As part of the Waste Workers Emergency Relief Project (WWERP), the team was also actively engaged in providing assistance to the waste workers who were stationed at hospitals. The awareness sessions were mainly targeted at ensuring that the waste workers who directly worked in sensitive area to COVID-19 such as hospitals were aware of the right safety measures and followed them thoroughly. The sessions by our Medical Officer for Hospitals were conducted in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Chitwan.
I have been working in the waste management sector since the last 14 years but the situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic was a first-of-its kind. There was a lot of fear over the safety of waste workers like me and it was hard to continue with our job due to the lack of safety gears.
I was even tested COVID-19 positive but thankfully I recovered well. I have become more conscious of my safety ever since. The help provided today in the form of safety gears has made me a little relieved about my health. I hope to diligently make use of these protective equipment to protect myself from the danger of COVID-19 while ensuring I perform to the best at work.
There is obviously the fear of the virus, especially since I work in waste management. I fear for my family’s safety more than my own since a little carelessness at work and in my hygiene from my side means my family will be at risk. However, I have no choice but to come to work since my husband’s job has been affected due to the lockdown and I am the sole breadwinner of my family at the moment.
But I give strict attention to my hygiene after work and make sure to only enter my house and meet my family after I thoroughly wash my hands and change my work clothes. This has become the new normal for me but I am at least content that I have my job intact to sustain my family
I have been continuing with my work although the working frequency has declined due to restricted vehicle mobility. This has affected my income but I am happy to continue my work because it is the only means to sustain my family and also I see it as my duty towards the community.
I am not scared of the risks that entail in my profession because I take the required safety precautions. But what makes me the most insecure about working as a sanitation worker is the stigma attached to the profession and how society views us. I keep our community clean but the community members do not perceive my work well and see me as a possible threat due to my exposure to waste. I wish people would respect us and our profession and acknowledge the contribution that we make to the environment and the community- despite multiple health risks and the threat of the ongoing pandemic.