Life in Waste
Dhapa, is the only waste dumping ground of Kolkata, covering over 60 acres of land, started operations in 1987; originally built with the capacity to accommodate city’s wastes for 15 years. Dhapa has long outlived its efficacy. Yet 5,372 tons of municipal solid waste is dumped here everyday through 500 trucks.
This mountain of garbage happens to be home of a community of people. Ignored by the rest of the civilization they find their livelihood in the trash, forgotten and forsaken. A large section of these people have been evicted and displaced from home and livelihood. They have relocated to the low-cost slums of Dhapa. Thousands of families’ survival depends on this waste dumping ground, as they earn their livelihood by picking rags, sorting out wastes, working in the recycling factories & tanneries and variety of other low-paying, unskilled jobs. They work in a hazardous condition and live in environment so toxic that it is beyond what is generally considered as a nightmare. Population of Dhapa represents an extremely vulnerable and high-risk section of society, by virtue of its acute poverty, low levels of education, abysmal state of awareness, substance abuse and the threat posed by the entire gamut of diseases including HIV/AIDS.
A guard is observing the waste dumping ground sitting inside a waste carrying truck, Dhapa, Kolkata, India. September 10, 2015.
Workers are sorting out the plastic bags at Dhapa waste dumping ground, Kolkata, India. January 17, 2015.
Feet of a plastic recycle worker, covered with plastic pieces at Dhapa waste dumping ground, Kolkata, India. January 17, 2015.
An old woman is washing her hair and flies are all over her back as she lives just beside the Dhapa waste dumping ground. Kolkata, India. January 20, 2015.
One of many dead dogs was found dumped openly on the road of Dhapa waste dumping ground, Kolkata, India. September 13, 2015.
A woman is washing her daughter’s hand and the other one is collecting water from a tube-well. Dhapa, Kolkata, India. January 20, 2015.
An old woman is getting back to her home, climbing down the boundary wall of dumping ground. Dhapa, Kolkata, India. January, 24, 2016.
Kids are putting their younger sister in a basket so that she can not go outside in the waste. Dhapa, Kolkata, India. January 22, 2016.
Rekha, 4, is watching at her picture inside the mosquito net since they have to suffer a lot because of mosquito also in day time. Dhapa, Kolkata, India. January 22, 2016.
Purnima is searching for mobile network. Because of the waste mountain they don’t get proper network except for some particular places. Dhapa, Kolkata, India. January, 22, 2016.