Philippines

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

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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.

Philippines – building a dirt road

dirt road across a small valley

In order to provide access to a source for soil to cover a dumpsite, this road was built across a small valley. Unfortunately, the planner failed to notice a little stream at the bottom of the valley. After a few days of moderate rainfall (for the Philippines), the street had turned into a dam. The water level rose by approximately 3 m over the last weekend, now eroding the road.

A culvert made from a few metres of simple concrete pipe would have avoided this.

Philippines: Kids on the dumpsite

Kids on a waste cliff

These kids were having a break from scavenging recyclables on the Santo Niño waste dumpsite in Tacloban.

Philippines: washed into the sea

Small truck washed into the sea

This is another disaster for Basey, a small town on Samar island. The storm surge of super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) washed this waste collection truck into Basey’s harbour, leaving Basey without household waste collection. The waste piled up in the streets, and Basey is relying on the United Nations for waste collection until today, more than 100 days after Yolanda.

Philippines – Yolanda hiding cars

Even more than 100 days after Yolanda, many cars are still damaged and in the place they ended up in when the storm was over. Including several hundred cars that were washed into Tacloban’s harbour, together with their owners.

Philippines – coconut down

Philippines - damaged coconut trees

For the rural population relying on coconut farming, Yolanda was not only a disaster because it destroyed their homes. For the next eight to ten years, the time until the newly planted coconut trees will bear the same fruit as before Yolanda, they will be struggling.