Not far from our busy city lives, a landfill is a city in itself. Bustling with people busy in their work and animals toppling stuff in their search for food. The only difference being that a landfill’s inhabitants live, breathe and eat garbage – solid waste that we (city dwellers) from the other side of the world create every day. How much? Anything from 2000 tons a day in cities like Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Pune to over 10,000 tons in metros such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Here in pictures, we take you on a trip to a landfill and meeting with its people while you are there.
I took a trip to Bhalswa landfill in Delhi during the summer when I first got interested in waste issues. Before reaching, I saw a huge hill of garbage with scores of eagles hovering above some 5 kms away.
Plastic bottles are a big catch for the ragpickers. One of them told me that he sells bottles to a recycler in the slums adjoining the landfill for Rs 3-5 per gunny bag. He sells around 20-30 such gunny bags per day, working 10-12 hours per day.
Some ragpickers collect just the cloth from the waste which also eventually ends up at a recycling unit.
Besides scavenging crows, cows, pigs and dogs formed their own community of waste feeders at Bhalswa landfill, Delhi.
The birds seen in the picture are Kites, Black Kites to be precise, they are mainly scavengers, unlike eagles (also very rare) that are birds of prey. Kite numbers are very large in cities and growing partly because of ample food in the form on increasing waste. Earlier some of this work was done by Vultures who are the most efficient scavengers when it comes to dead cattle, but they have virtually disappeared (will need another mail to detail this). There has also been a substantial increase in the number of other scavenging animals and birds like Dogs, rats, pigs, crows etc.
All pictures are a copyright of Rohit Sharma published here with consent. Please don’t use or reproduce without permission from the photographer.