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Ragpickers reach for tech to help residents get rid of their garbage

No more waiting for BBMP workers to show up to clear garbage. IT firm MindTree's technology helps ragpickers know which household to collect dry waste from on their handheld device

Can you imagine ragpickers with handheld devices keeping a track on households needing garbage to be picked up? Well, just that kind of a technology has come to the rescue of residents who have had problems getting their garbage lifted regularly by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). An app developed by the Social Inclusion team of IT company MindTree, not only ensures that garbage - mainly dry waste - is lifted regularly, but has also made life easier for rag-pickers who otherwise have to scavenge through heaps of mess to get their hands on recyclable dry waste.

It all began with the frustrating experience of eight ladies in Basavangudi where BBMP workers failed to show up regularly to pick up garbage collected from the residences in that locality. One of them, Smitha Srinath, said, "We went to the BBMP health inspector and whoever we could for help. But there was just no permanent solution to the problem."

Desperate for a solution, the ladies came across a technological solution that had been developed by MindTree for bulk garbage generators. When their problem was highlighted, MindTree adapted the already existing app for residential areas to benefit the household as well as the ragpickers. There are two apps created - one for residents, and one for the ragpickers. Every evening, for a month, these eight ladies went knocking on doors in the neighbourhood to ask one simple question: Would you like to donate dry waste from your house? If the resident said 'yes', their details including name, address and mobile number would be entered into the 'citizen volunteer app' - the one developed by MindTree for the residents.