Rag-pickers, who contribute to solid waste management majorly, are the people who rummage through garbage bins to pick out useful material for their livelihood. Being the important backbone of the solid waste management system in India, their act is least recognized and considered as one of the most inferior one. The situation gets even worse when children get involved in this system.s. In comparison to adults, children lack judgment, experience and knowledge. They may therefore be at greater risk of occupational hazards and injuries. For instance, children may pick dangerous materials which adults would know to avoid. Exposure to hazardous materials may be more severe for a child. For instance, children have a faster rate of breathing than adults which may make them more vulnerable to airborne hazards (such as gases given off by burning waste materials). They have thinner layers of skin than adults which may make them more vulnerable to chemical absorption and burns. Furthermore, the softness of children`s bones may mean any skeletal problems resulting from carrying heavy loads are greater than they would be for adults. By starting this work at an early age, have a greater potential number of years in the occupation which may put them at an increased level of risk of low level chronic exposure. They may be more susceptible than adults to the detrimental effects of this work on personality development. With less awareness about the stigma attached to the work than adults and lack of choice associated with this work means that the children forgo other opportunities of education, health care and other childhood activities.
With the vision of clean and healthy India, IPCA is executing the noble act of “free medical checkup camp” for rag pickers community under its “TetraPak collection and recycling programme since year 2011. The outcome of continuous health camps for rag pickers revealed that their health status has improved remarkably. for more detail Click here.