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.