Model Question and Answers for APSC | There is an urgent need to safeguard informal workers’ health, dignity and productivity from intense Heat Waves. Comment.
There is an urgent need to safeguard informal workers’ health, dignity and productivity from intense Heat Waves. Comment.
Ans: India is literally melting these days, hitting temperatures inconceivable a few years ago. This is not surprising — global warming-related heat waves were predicted. But the heat is so intense and its escalation so rapidly, that it has left us gasping.
Informal workers getting singed at home and at work place:
Despite these plans, a significant chunk of urban India’s population will get singed. This is the informal workforce.
- About 80% of the workforce in urban India is informal (90% in rural India). We know them as cobblers, workers in construction and waste, and street vendors, among other people who make cities liveable.
- Other professions are also challenged. Brick kiln workers are always likely to be near intense heat, or in brutally hot, enclosed Waste pickers soldier on in sizzling landfills.
- They are vulnerable to the heat; their work requires them to be on the streets, facing the elements, for the most part, without any cooling Most live off a daily wage, forcing them to work despite the cold or heat.
- Their urban homes remain informal shanties, made of cartons, bricks, tin roofs and plastic sheets. These provide almost no protection against the heat, or even the cold.
- Most don’t even enjoy access to cold water, far less any of the prescribed means of recovery from heat India is in real danger of loss of lives from the heat pandemic.
- Identifying a heatwave in the context of local conditions; public awareness, illness prevention and public action.
- Starting working at 5 am and ending at 1 pm, coupled with workplaces designed for frequent rest, shade and hydration, this could be the first step.
- We must look for improved conditions for workers. But it isn’t enough protection. Decent housing is key to surviving intense heat, cold and While government housing schemes struggle to provide more of the poor with pucca houses, interim measures are vital.
- Many of these are simple fixes: For example, setting up community cool spaces, including near slums, or, opening up public and private spaces such as stadiums and empty college hostels to provide cool spaces.
- Cities must densify green On the one hand, old trees and open spaces are key to combating the heat island effect.
- To survive these heatwaves and grow our economy, we need a moratorium on cutting down trees altogether.
- On the other hand, societal prejudices must break, so the poor can share resources. Today, few urban neighbourhoods accept the plumber or cobbler resting in a shady park. Work times, too, must shift.