Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group works for environmental justice and social justice. Their focus is on ensuring equitable and sustainable production and consumption of materials, and improve disposal of waste. An important part of this is ensuring green jobs, security and dignity for the urban poor, many of whom earn a living as waste recyclers. They also work closely with policymakers, Resident Welfare Associations and the police.
In 2014, Chintan Material Recovery Facility was one of the winners of the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award. They won the award for sorting garbage from numerous trains at the New Delhi Railway station into organic and non-organic waste, which would otherwise end up in landfill dumps outside the city. They shared the award with Goonj.
Main activities of Chintan:
1) Voice for Waste: Chintan organises wastepickers, small traders and other waste workers in order to enable them to receive social security, dignity and their fundamental rights. A large part of work under this program is undertaken in partnership with an association of waste recyclers incubated by Chintan called Safai Sena (12,000 members).
2) Scavengers to Managers: The NGO works with partners such as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and other agencies to help set up solid-waste handling systems that result in green jobs at minimum wages in a safe environment. Examples are doorstep waste collection, composting, primary treatment of PET plastics, and safely dismantling complex electronic waste (e-waste). As part of Low Carbon futures program, Chintan works with bulk waste producers - offices, factories and other large organizations -to collect and recycle their waste, thus creating livelihood in the informal sector.
3) No Child in Trash: With the goal of ending child labour in waste picking, the program runs non formal schools and enables access to formal schooling for children in waste picking communities. This program has benefitted over 4,000 children studying in nine schools till date. Currently, 1,800 children are enrolled in their informal learning centres.
4) Advocacy and Outreach: To influence policy makers and the public, they produce watchdog reports, films, policy memos and organise campaigns and protests along the themes of social and environmental justice.