Dear Editor, In the background of the challenging circumstances of COVID-19, the informal waste sector workers have become most vulnerable to contracting the virus, given their working and living conditions. Like daily-wage labourers from other industries, their incomes too have taken a huge hit as the country is under lockdown, and the economy reels under its effects. In this context, Plastic Waste Management Programme project supported by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, and government partners mobilised resources to support Safai-Sathis across 30 of its project cities. Through the implementing and enterprise partners, CSOs, it provided them with social protection, safety net and access to basic services. In order to ensure the safety of Safai-Sathis, especially where Swachhta Kendras are operational, trainings and awareness sessions were conducted by the project implementing partners in each city. The project is also working towards creating opportunities for ‘economic response and recovery’ services. Essential items such as safety kits, ration supplies, and sanitary napkins were distributed among more than 15,000 Safai-Sathis and their family members. The project facilitated Sathis to have temporary ration cards to access the food supplies by the government. They were also provided travel passes to transport goods and collect waste in designated areas as per notifications of local authorities. All the relief efforts were complemented by co-financing funds by the project implementing partners. Mohammad Ameen Guroo, Consultant:Plastic Waste Management Programme United Nations Development Programme Jammu J & K.
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