These photos tell how rag collectors clean up the sprawling tech hub and boost recycling
Not much would be visible to the layperson in this pile of waste in which dogs and cows are feeding. But a rag picker sees bottles, cardboards, plastic containers, glass and more. In other words, he sees wealth.
Rag pickers are perhaps the only people who are happy at the sight of a dumpsite. In Bengaluru, many rag pickers start their daily routine with an empty polythene sack and a long walk. This hunt for waste continues until they have enough quantity of recyclable material to make ends meet. Photo by Anjali V Raj
Some collect the waste having worth (recyclable materials) directly from the dumpsites, stuff it into their polythene sacks and take it to the nearest scrap dealer who offers a better price. Age and gender don’t matter much in this case. Photo by Anjali V Raj
There are others who work as maids or housekeepers in apartments and houses. They collect the recyclable materials from the houses they work and bring it to the scrap shops after their 9 to 6 jobs. A better description for them would be rag collectors rather than rag pickers. Photo by Anjali V Raj
When the sack is full, they bring it to the scrap shops. Here, their goods are categorised and weighed. They are paid approximately Rs 2 per kilogram of recyclable plastics and Rs 4 per kilogram of cardboard or paper. Some scrap shops offer the same price for both paper and plastic. Scrap metals get a slightly higher price. Photo by Anjali V Raj
This is typically a subset of WOW (Wealth Out of Waste). Unbeknownst rag pickers are better environmentalists than many of us. They save many recyclables from ending up in some random landfills. Whether these recyclables are recycled or downcycled is a completely different story.
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