Life in a Dump Yard

Sudipto Kumar Ghosh 01
A landfill site (also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump or dumping ground) is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment.
The photos submitted is a Solid Waste Management project maintained by the local Municipality (a government body).
This dumping ground is situated in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and has a capacity of over 20,000 metric tonnes.
The garbage dumped there includes solid waste and non-biodegradable material like plastic and polyvinyl chloride. The municipality, in collaboration with the CMDA (Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority), has set up a small solid waste disposal unit in the dumping ground to carve out space by separating biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.
Living and working on the landfill comes with serious health hazards that successive state and central governments continue to ignore. Inextinguishable fires burn all day and night, which pollute the air. They are so ubiquitous that the workers no longer complain about the fumes.
Especially, in the monsoon, the garbage is wet and so the ground can fall beneath your feet anytime. Many trucks have been overturned on the heap of garbage. 
The people who come to work here do not come by will. They have nowhere to go. They have nothing to lose. All they need is some means of earning for survival. These people are mostly hired by the authority on a temporary basis on a daily waged system. Previously, the per say wage used to be INR 60 a day ($ 1.34 a day) now it has increased to a little more. These are mostly people who live in nearby slums or villages very far away. 
The workers living on a daily wage often get ill a lot. There is a lot of pollution and it smells very bad. Even though the workers live nearby, they are used to it but it bothers them a lot. People often get sick. They get diarrhoea, they get tuberculosis.
To one of the daily wage earner its just not a job, its a way of life. He feels that a dumping yard is a place for those people who are wanted by nobody and who all are rejected by the entire society. It’s just a completely different world.
Kolkata’s poorest people end up here hoping to make a living. Wages are low, and living conditions are cramped and unhygienic.
Another woman had to say, they try not to have children as they cannot bear their own cost of living. They don’t know in the morning what will be their meal. If they cannot feed themselves, how can they feed and educate their children?
They have to say that they are poor people and nobody helps the poor. So they work for themselves so that they can survive.
It is due to the poor filthy and unhygienic condition of the dump yard, the people who work here easily fall prey to deadly diseases of lung and skin mostly and they eventually get a cut short in their lifespan. An old man who spent his life working in the dump yard has to say, even the God cannot bear to see their miserable way leading life, so He cuts short their lifespan and calls them up to Him.
The Government has recently taken initiative to look after the people who work here and are living a miserable life. The Government has proposed to tag them as ‘pickers’ and issue a permanent government Identity Card so that they could at least get the minimum benefit from the government schemes. They could at least have some hygiene in their way of living. They could get government aid in the medical and sanitation field. This proposal of the government might take some time to be effective though.


Sudipto K. Ghosh is an Indian born photographer. He is associated with the field of photography for the last 5 years. Presently, he is a Director of CINERA STUDIO (a name of trust in the field of photography, film making and event management). Sudipto’s current collaboration spans across multiple photography and event partners. He is also one of the backbone of VIRGOZZ EVENT MANAGEMENT Company along with his finesse in photography. He also works as a Photojournalist in ALOR DISHA NEWS. He works in The National Geographic photo assignments. In addition to this, he is also an Official Contributor Photographer at GETTY IMAGES/ iStock, Fotolia (Adobe Stock Photos), Alamy Stock Photos, Dreamstime Stock Photos, and a few more.

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