For ragpickers in Delhi’s Ghazipur, garbage mound only source of livelihood
The rag pickers have been hearing tales of a promised transformation for sometime but the wait for a better day, where they will get clean air to breathe in his Ghazipur home, seems never-ending.Updated: Sep 02, 2017 12:24 IST
Barely 100 metres from the Ghazipur Landfill, there is a colony of rag pickers. They earn their livelihood by collecting trash from the garbage mountain every day and don’t mind living in unhygienic condition.
Suhana Begum and his family lives in a makeshift home, located merely 200 metres from the garbage mountain in Ghazipur for a long time. However, in these years, he has not seen any improvement in the condition of this place, except for the increasing height of the garbage mountain.
“The situations is getting worst day-by-day as the civic agency continues dumping tonnes of garbage here everyday without making any alternative arrangement. Not just that, they are paying no heed to improve the sanitation condition in the areas surrounding the landfill, forcing people like us to live in unhygienic condition,”said Begum.
Even under these challenging circumstances, these rag go out to the garbage mountain daily to collect waste. “Because they have no other option. The place is the only source of livelihood for hundreds of rag pickers who won’t mind working in unhealthy conditions,” said Jai Prakash Chaudhary, who runs an organisation for the welfare of ragpickers in area.
“During rains, water enters the jhuggis and otherwise also these get flooded with sewer water after every 10 days or so. Also, we can’t use the ground water for household activities as it tastes bad. Though tankers come here daily to supply drinking water, but demand outstrips supply and people end up fighting with each other to fill their water cans,” said Chaudhary.
Besides insanitary surroundings and continuous stench , what annoys people living in neighbouring areas more is the spontaneous fires at the landfill set off by gases, such as methane, that are released as part of the natural decomposition process.
The rag pickers have been hearing tales of a promised transformation for sometime but the wait for a better day, where they will get clean air to breathe in his Ghazipur home, seems never-ending.
Chitra Mukherjee, head of programme, Chintan (an NGO) said, “A majority of these people are migrants and do not vote. So naturally no political leader or party is interested in improving their livelihood. To improve their condition we have been repeatedly asking for providing them training and regularise them for segregating waste in better conditions.”