People and Waste

People and Waste

Dumpsite kids: between the worst forms of child labour and child day care

Worst form of child labour, neglect, or simply no alternative for day care?

This is on Tacloban City dumpsite, the photo taken end of March, and shows one of the problems we are facing in clearing up in the Philippines after Yolanda..The scavengers need the income they earn, and some of them also need their kids to work on the dumpsite, to be able to feed their families. Some families have to live from as little as 500 PHP (11 US$ or 8.50 Euros). Some of the kids are as young as four or five, and their parents seem to bring them to the dumpsite because they have no alternative for day care. Other kids will come to look for recyclables for an hour or two per day, they seem to earn their own pocket money to be able to buy themselves a soft drink.

Since this constitutes one of the worst forms of child labour, one of the objectives of the current UNDP project is to improve the working conditions of the adult scavengers, to enable them to work more efficiently and earn more money. At the same time, we are planning to set up a child friendly space outside the dumpsite before September 2014, where the kids will get the opportunity to go to school, play, eat under clean and hygienic conditions.

Tacloban, a sunny day on Santo Niño dumpsite

scavengers on a waste dumpsite

A sunny day on Santo Niño (Holy Child) dumpsite in Tacloban. How many people can you find in this photograph?

Philippines – coping with disaster waste

Excavators on temporary disaster waste dumpsite in Tacloban, Philippines, after the super-typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan

Immediately after super-typhoon Yolanda (or, internationally: Haiyan) had hit the Philippines, a mixture of mud, wood, cars, waste and other unpleasant stuff filled the streets of Tacloban. It took a fleet of hundreds of trucks several weeks to clear the streets. It was brought to an old bus station inside Tacloban, the Abucay terminal. From there it was transported to the official dumpsite north of Tacloban. By now the bus terminal area has been cleared, another step forward to normal life.

Collecting firewood in Rafah (Gaza Strip, 2009)

Women in Gaza Strip collecting firewood from a waste dump site near Rafah at the Egyptian border.

Waste Dumps: Dneprodsershinsk, Ukraine

Waste pickers’ shelter on a burning waste dump site in Dneprodsershinsk, Ukraine (2005). Shot taken with Olypus C720UZ point-and shoot.

Waste Dumps: Cardenas in Tabasco, Mexico (2008)


Panorama of a waste dump site (tiradero) in Cárdenas, Tabasco (Mexico) 2008.

The panorama can be used to add more detailed information with links, which might be photos as in this example, but also borehole logs or project documents, basically everything that can be opened with an internet browser. Try clicking the arrows… This is actually one of the value added things I am offering to customers when I am on site and have the time to take the photographs.