If you think your job stinks, then you better think twice. These sewer cleaners in Dhaka, Bangladesh are risking their lives for a daily wage of only £4.50 to £7.50 (PHP 300-500). If you are not familiar with this type of job, sewer cleaners are those people who remove contaminants from wastewater, primarily from household sewage.
Every day, these hardworking workers stand in the middle of the waste, which usually reaches above their head. Typically, they only use a long wooden stick, metal scraper, broom or simply their bare hands to clear the drainage pipe.
Worse scenario, these scavengers crawl through the sewage, wearing no protective gear. That is why reports have revealed that dozens of sewer workers have already laid down their lives in Dhaka because they were not given any personal protective equipment to keep them from the danger and risk of contamination.
Despite the dangers that they face in their daily job, many scavengers say that they don’t have any other option.
Moreover, Bangladesh is not the only country in the world who suffers from this problem. In 2016, two sewer cleaners in Mumbai, India met their end while doing their job.
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Binod Lahot, a sewer worker in Mumbai for 20 years shared how stinky and dangerous their job is. In an interview with BBC News, he was quoted saying,
“When I lift my hand to my mouth to take a bite of food, I feel like it smells of sewage but I still eat it. Why? Because I have to stay alive and go back to work tomorrow.”
Back in 2014, the Supreme Court of India made a law that bereaved families of those sewer cleaners who met their end while working since 1993 will be given a compensation of £10,000 (roughly PHP 700,000).
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We are hoping that this will also be the case in Dhaka knowing that many scavengers have risked their lives for the sake of giving their community a better drainage system. Dhaka is a city in Bangladesh with 14 million residents. Due to overpopulation, they usually suffer from improper drainage systems, especially during rainy season.