Across Latin America, an estimated 4 million people, 90 percent of them “informal” (unlicensed), make a very dangerous living picking over garbage dumps and city streets to find materials they can recycle for cash.
They are exposed to every health and safety risk imaginable — and in Ecuador, where more than half of recyclers are women, this includes sexual harassment and lower pay.
Now, the Alianza por la Solidaridad, with the support of international backers from the European Union and Spain, is helping this at-risk labor sector gain some power and dignity.
Municipalities are taking the lead by improving refuse-management practices. This includes recognizing individual recyclers, who perform a vital service for public health and the environment, as “green employees” with better protections.
Source: Huffington Post