Waste Pickers and Collectors in Delhi: Poverty and Environment in an Urban Informal Sector ”
On the other hand, the difference in their origins is worth to emphasize. Even though members in both groups are mostly migrants from rural area, we can find the difference in a distance from Delhi to where they came from. The majority of pickers migrated from faraway states (e.g. Bihar and West Bengal, eastern states) whereas that of collectors is from the neighboring states (e.g. Uttar Pradesh, UP). It is also clear that the way they convey their wastes differs as pickers mostly use their own back only with some supplemental use of rickshaw cart but collectors mostly use rickshaw cart only.
Gaps in both income and poverty level between two groups can be seen from Table 5 and 6. Average income per capita per day of pickers is about half of collectors’, and about 90 percent of pickers are below the poverty line set by Planning Commission, while only about 20 percent of collectors stays below the line.
The problem of pickers is not only that they currently suffer in poverty relative to collectors, but also that their poverty is not “transitory”. Surveys and observation suggest that, for pickers, opportunity to become collectors or ascend to dealers or wholesalers is significantly narrow, while collectors have the occupational ladder to ascend to upstream of the business.
The chronicity of poverty is attributed to