The images of India’s trash dumps are burnt into the mind's eye, known the world over. Pictures of those who are extremely poor permanently haunched over an endless landscape of soot, toxic smoke, and waves of trash. Children, barefoot, carrying plastics computer shards, and looking hopeless. It's mindless madness and leagues beyond sad.
Trash in India is a problem. Especially in places like New Delhi which dump 10,000 metric tonnes of waste a day or,“roughly the weight of the Eiffel Tower” according to Al Jazeera. There are the dystopian proportions of trash and adult trash pickers and then there are the Children. India does have official laws against child labor but it doesn’t matter, there are children - millions of them, picking trash and working as young as possible. From a First World perspective, one would look at the landfills and imagine a federal arm reaching in and rectifying the ordeal but that’s not how it works in India. The landfills are a national crisis but all Indian authorities seem to be able to do is leverage threats towards the cities who harbor the environmental disasters.
Al Jazeera: “Recently, India's Supreme Court, angered by the apparent inaction on the issue, delivered a damning criticism of the city's municipalities, saying that if Delhi's waste was not managed properly the city faced an impending disaster.”
“’On paper, these landfills are meant to be 'sanitary' landfills. But in reality, no precautions are taken. There's no scientific process or segregation process. Almost 90 percent of the budget of the [Delhi] municipalities is spent on transporting waste, rather than managing waste,’ said Vimlendu Jha, the executive director of Swechha, a Delhi-based NGO campaigning for social action on environmental issues.”