The future of the rag-pickers

 

According to a piece in the Guardian, it seems that authorities in Delhi are piloting a project to tackle the city’s enormous waste problem but the solution may affect those whose livelihood depends on it. Currently, waste is sorted manually by an informal army of men, women and children and then passed on to middle-men to sell or recycle. Three new plants (one at Ghazipur) will, it is hoped, sort the 8000 tonnes of Delhi’s daily waste automatically. It is estimated that more than 50,000 people work in this informal sector (known as ‘rag-pickers’) in and around the capital. The work is terrible and dangerous but for a significant section of the transient population of one of the world’s fastest growing cities, it is at least a living.

Over the years, I’ve photographed and written about many of the city’s rag pickers who exist in a twilight, Dickensian world ignored by almost everyone, quietly making the city function in a most human but terrible way.

 

 

India – New Delhi – Buddhi Lal, 30, a rag-picker, works before dawn collecting refuse to recycle and resell. On a good day he can make perhaps Rs150-200

 

India – New Delhi – Buddhi Lal, 30, a rag-picker with his small children playing behind him on the pavement, sorts the refuse that he has collected during his dawn round to sell

 

India – New Delhi – A child rag-picker collecting plastic bottles (and anything else he can scavenge) from the carriage of a train at New Delhi Railway station

 

India – Delhi – A child rag-picker cleans his fingernail with an old razor blade at a rubbish depot in Old Delhi

 

India – Delhi – A boy scavenger on the Yamuna River on a home-made raft of sacking and polystyrene. By dragging a magnet through the filthy water he collects scrap metal to sell

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “The future of the rag-pickers”

  1. travelerreport Says:

    Powerful. It’s about people who are very poor, people who are constantly struggling to make ends meet, people who keep going,…