PHOTOS: A day in the life of an Indian child scavenger

Once school is done for the day, 10-year-old Imradul Ali rushes home to change out of his uniform so he can start his job as a scavenger in India’s remote northeast. Armed with a gunny sack, he goes to a landfill in the slums of Guwahati, the capital of Assam state. Here, he hunts through heaps of other people’s garbage, searching for plastic bottles, glass or anything salvageable he can recycle or sell. Around him, cows graze on the mountains of waste that line the site. Ali comes from a family of scavengers, or “rag pickers” — his father, mother and elder brother all earn their income through it. He started doing it over a year ago to help his family make more money. The family was hit hard last year by the Covid-19 pandemic, as they couldn’t go to the landfill and sift through garbage for things to sell. They struggled during the months-long lockdown in India, but were able to get food through the help of aid organizations.

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST 10 Photos
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Imradul Ali, 10, looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, prays with others in a classroom in a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, prays with others in a classroom in a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, puts on a pair of shoes which he salvaged from a landfill before going to school from his rented room on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, puts on a pair of shoes which he salvaged from a landfill before going to school from his rented room on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, right, and his friends go to a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, right, and his friends go to a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, second from left, studies with other students at a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, second from left, studies with other students at a school near a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, center, plays as he looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, center, plays as he looks for recyclable material at a landfill on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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Imradul Ali, 10, center, takes his school bag from his mother Anuwara Beghum, 30, as he leaves for school from his rented room on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Imradul Ali, 10, center, takes his school bag from his mother Anuwara Beghum, 30, as he leaves for school from his rented room on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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