Garbage Pickers





The Ghazipur landfill in the city of New Delhi is a poisonous place.  It is illegal for children to set foot here, but the city needs their services to process some of the 9,200 pounds of trash that is produced in New Delhi, every day. Children here are forced to work sun-up to sun-down, and are paid virtually nothing. Many suffer from malnutrition, physical handicaps, and every child is subject to disease from exposure to toxic pollutants — exposure which has been found to be equally or more harmful to a child’s health than certain infectious diseases like malaria.

For these children, hope lies in the work of organizations like Chintan, an advocacy group dedicated to freeing children from wastepicking in areas including the Ghazipur Landfill. Their mission is to provide customized education for children vulnerable to wastepicking, working with their parents and teachers to ensure that every wastepicker child and every child from a wastepicker family is able to reject a life in trash, even as an adult.

Physical handicaps at times are severe. They are exposed to material that burns right through the bones of the hands of the child. Or to the eyes. Or to the shape of the body, being bent, for twelve hours a day probably six and a half days a week.
— Antonio Costa in Not My Life