Health Issues Faced by Rag Pickers

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Indian rag pickers have to be skilled in picking and packing rags, which makes them very prone to health hazards. Occupational and environmental health hazards are two of the major concerns affecting rag pickers. Other issues that are related to rag-picking are mental disorders and migration patterns. Read on to find out more about these topics. Listed below are some of the common problems faced by rag pickers. These diseases include:

Occupational and environmental health hazards

The work environment of rag pickers exposes workers to various environmental and occupational health hazards. These hazards include exposure to contaminated wastes, sharp objects and animals. The workers are also at risk of developing various diseases including dermatitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition, there is a high prevalence of substance use among the workers. To assess the risk factors, a survey was conducted in both rural and urban areas of India.

Work process

Rag pickers collect waste materials, such as cardboard, and then sell them to middlemen, who turn them into secondary raw materials for industrial processes. These materials can be anything, from plastic bottles to cardboard to bones and even cigarettes. However, they don't necessarily collect waste that can be recycled or re-used. Instead, they seek materials that can be sold for a profit. This is not a sustainable way to earn a living.

Migratory patterns

This study reveals that more than half of the rag pickers are unemployed and migratory, and one third of them get jobs under a contractor. While the rest of them are engaged in low-paying jobs, none of them have a high education. The migration patterns of rag pickers show that they are predominantly in their early twenties and do not have a high level of education.

Mental disorders

A study in Brazil found that a high prevalence of mental disorders is observed in rag pickers. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that these workers typically work long and irregular hours, often during nightshifts. They are frequently exposed to hazardous materials and sharp objects, and their daily struggle for survival has a negative effect on their mental health. Furthermore, their low wages and lack of job security result in a high risk of contracting infectious diseases and developing dermatitis.

Neglect by society

The film 'Rag Pickers' examines the lives of rag pickers in Pakistan, exposing the deplorable conditions under which they work. In addition, the film explores the relationship between rag pickers and their families, revealing that many of them have no family at all. The film also focuses on the importance of education and health programmes for these workers, and calls for the end to the exploitation of these individuals.

August 26, 2022

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