Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ragpickers





Imagine that you are a farmer who is forced to move to the big city to find work.

It may be that the rich and powerful have taken over your land; or it may be that over-population has forced you to leave your village; or it may be a problem of drought.

Many poor people who come to big cities like Bombay or Jakarta or Nairobi end up as ragpickers.

The Economist, 15 November 2007,( India's ragpickers Scavenger hunt Economist.com) has an article about ragpickers:

"In Delhi alone, there are more than 300,000. They earn 100-150 rupees ($2.50-3.75) for eight hours' work. They save the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) an estimated 600,000 rupees in daily waste-disposal costs, reckons Chintan, a charity that campaigns for their welfare...

"In recent months, ragpickers in Delhi have been denied access to much of the rubbish upon which they depend. In its drive to spruce up the capital for the 2010 Commonwealth games, the MCD has awarded waste-collection contracts to private companies in six of its 12 zones.

"These firms dump rubbish in inaccessible containers without any thought for recycling. This is unsurprising. They earn six rupees per tonne of collected rubbish; sold on, that refuse would fetch just over five rupees. Chintan has researched the impact in two zones, and has found that half the ragpickers reported a substantial drop in earnings.

"In Mumbai, waste collection has not yet been privatised, but it might be soon."

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