Concerns have arisen around the impact on waste pickers of recently gazetted draft regulations to limit the theft of metal from infrastructure by improving oversight over scrap dealers. An initial phase would ban exports of scrap for six months, followed by the implementation of new regulations imposing stricter rules on dealers, including requiring them to track identification on suppliers and to pay only through electronic mechanisms.
In evaluating the impact of the new regulations, it is important to be clear about the number of people who depend on waste picking and how much they rely on metal. This study reviews the available information on the number of waste pickers, their income from metal, and their race, gender, education and location. On that basis, the conclusions compare the cost of the proposed new restrictions on scrap metal trade for waste pickers to the potential social benefits of limiting cable theft. They then indicate affordable and practical strategies to minimise the cost of the new regulations to waste pickers.
Research report: Measures to prevent theft of scrap metal