Being a student of the social sciences, I have always loved to work in the development sector. One day as I was walking out my house, I saw a pile of garbage dumped outside. I had always seen waste workers come and pick up the garbage that lay outside my house. People usually were very rude to them and considered them dirty. But I always remembered what my father said- that they are the real heroes of the country, and we should salute them instead of looking down upon them. At first, the words that my father said astonished me and hit me hard, but I soon learned how despite being perceived in a bad light, the waste workers were the ones who really contribute to keeping the environment clean.
A few months back, I got the opportunity to interact with one of the waste workers at a scrap centers. The interaction was overwhelming as well as heartbreaking. Most of the workers were pretty open in talking about their lives and how they had started working in this industry while some of them were a bit hesitant to talk. From this interaction, I gathered that most of the workers had a hard life back in their village and moved to the capital of the city with the aspiration of finding a good job to feed their children. One of the interactions was with an old couple where both the husband and the wife worked in the waste industry, driving on earning daily wages by baling plastic bottles while keeping a roof over their head to feed seven children. Even though they struggles to make ends meet they wished for their children to have a better future and urge them to pay attention to their education. They were pleased with how well behaved and appreciative her kids were of their efforts.
Our waste workers keep our homes and environment clean. They work in the landfills and sort out the waste that we collectively produce. They certainly are our environmental heroes, but there is still more to be done for our waste workers and the waste management industry as a whole.