Tata Trusts Campaign Aims to Improve Sanitation Workers Life in Mumbai


Sanitation workers in Mumbai and towns across India are forced to enter covered sewage drains almost on a daily basis to manually clear the waste that clogs them at great risk to their health and well being.

Yet, very few people are aware of their plight or the difference that citizens can make by segregating the waste at the source itself.

 #TwoBinsLifeWins Campaign Video

This is where Tata Trusts stepped in. It has, through its program, Mission Garima, launched a campaign — #TwoBinsLifeWins. A short film available on Youtube depicts the plight of the sanitary workers through the eyes of a child whose father has to segregate waste in sewers because the people would not. (The film can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c13be-R6aAg).

The child is shown in the three-minute-long video addressing the class during a recitation competition about his father’s profession. He says, “Mera papa desh chalata hai” (my father runs the country). He goes on to explain that his father is neither a politician, doctor or soldier, but keeps the country running, the people in good health by fighting against disease-carrying germs.

He is a sanitation worker who removes manhole covers and goes into dark sewers to unclog them by taking out the solid wastes chocking the system. He performs the work despite a serious threat to his health and even death.

The film ends saying that thousands of sanitary workers risk their lives and with an appeal to the people to segregate waste into bio-degradable wet waste and non-bio-degradable dry waste.

The Need for the Campaign

The campaign urges citizens to segregate waste at the source, to make the lives of the conservancy workers better, more dignified. It is a part of an on-going initiative of the Trusts — Mission Garima — to promote safe, healthy and humane working conditions for conservancy workers in Mumbai.

Under Mission Garima, the Trusts have identified and procured technologies to make the process for waste management more mechanical and reduce human intervention. Tata Trusts has provided improved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to more than 150 conservancy workers in Mumbai on a pilot basis, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).

sanitation worker

sanitation worker collecting the solid waste

The launch of the campaign will also see a first-of-its-kind model chowki at L-ward, Kurla, jointly inaugurated by Tata Trusts and MCGM. These are facilities in every ward where cleanliness workers assemble to begin their day and come back to change and rest.

The first-of-its-kind model chowki in Kurla comprises office space, separate rooms for men and women staff with improved water and sanitation services, storage, and functional open space. It will be equipped with amenities like a water purification system, microwave oven, a gym, among other recreational activities.

Divyang Waghela, Head – Tata Water Mission, Tata Trusts, said, “Conservancy workers are the backbone of large metropolitan cities like Mumbai. They help in keeping our city clean, and in order. It is imperative that efforts are made to ensure their safety and to protect their dignity.

“Tata Trusts launched Mission Garima to bring about a significant positive impact in the work environment of conservancy workers. With #TwoBinsLifeWins, we hope to prod the conscience of the nation and encourage citizens to segregate waste at their respective homes, so conservancy workers live a life of dignity and respect.”

The campaign has been developed by FCB Ulka. Keegan Pinto, National Creative Director, FCB Ulka, said, “The inspiration for this heartfelt film comes from true feelings, testimonials and insights. This film is very special to us. But the film is not more important than the cause.

“Nothing is more heinous, ridiculous, tragic, disgusting and a greater product of our trademark Indian collective convenience and ignorance than a man having to go down in the drain and then, dying too early leaving his children orphaned. We really wish the film makes a difference and we hope people start segregating their waste at home with the small act of 2 bins and abolish this practice altogether,” he added

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