Bangalore, June 05, 2023: More than 200 Waste Pickers in the city was given free eye screening by Sankara Eye Hospital on the occasion of World Environment Day. The Hospital undertook this noble gesture in collaboration with Hasiru Dala (Green Force), a social impact organisation that works with waste pickers to ensure a better life for them.
Commenting on why eye screening is important for waste pickers, Mr C Gnanasekaran, Unit Head, Sankara Eye Hospital, said: “Waste pickers work in a polluted and unhealthy environment searching and segregating recyclable items out of hazardous waste. Majority of the waste sites are highly germ-infested, and have an abundance of fleas, and offensive smells”.
“Sometimes while collecting rags from the garbage dumps, they come in contact with, materials which are toxic, corrosive, flammable, explosive, etc. and these substances are hazardous in nature. Bio-Medical waste, such as needles, syringes, old medicines and soiled bandages etc. are very dangerous to the waste pickers which can cause eye diseases among other lethal diseases. Hence regular eye screening is very crucial for this community to avoid any vision impairment” added Mr C Gnanasekaran.
Dr Akshatha, Director, Health intervention, Hasiru Dala says, “There is an evident gap among Waste Pickers to use proper eye protection and eye guards while working at hazardous, chemical waste-infested and gaseous sites. With this eye screening we want to create awareness among this community on the importance of eye health care as part of our constant effort to empower them to lead a life with dignity.”
Sankara Eye Foundation India is a protagonist of National Eye Health Care Movement in India, continuously transforming eye care delivery structure through various Eye Care Initiatives across age groups, cutting edge technology, scientific approach, innovation, research & training.
Hasiru Dala has been working with Waste Pickers for over 10 years now and has been instrumental in prompting Lok Adalat to direct BBMP to register waste pickers and give, occupational Identity cards, getting 225 ID cards distributed by the Commissioner of Bengaluru, an historic movement for the waste pickers movement in India.