In New Delhi, India, migrant people are finding themselves being forced to pick through the landfill looking for any type of recyclable material like plastic, scrap metal, and even hair to sell. At the landfill they are joined by cows, dogs, and crows to find material to resell. This is the way hundreds of migrant workers earn their meager living.
The capital of India is home to three landfills where approximately six thousand pounds of rubbish have been dumped. The trash that is dumped at these landfills has already been picked through by other waste collectors. These other waste collectors are the ones who pick up the trash directly from the homes.
At the landfills, all this waste produces a significant amount of a black toxic liquid called leachate and there are also significant amounts of methane gas that is produced. In addition, there are noxious fumes caused by spontaneous combustions. The migrant workers combing these landfills face all of these toxic fumes on a daily basis. Just living near a landfill will increase your risk of cancer and asthma, and even birth defects according to studies done so you can just imagine how it is to actually be picking through the landfills on a daily basis.
In these three landfills it is estimated that there are approximately five hundred fifty people working as waste pickers, including almost two hundred children. Officially children are banned from working as waste pickers but officials are turning a blind eye to children being there. For hours of backbreaking work a family on average only earns approximately twenty dollars a week, of which most is spent on water and food.