Khulna is the third-largest city in Bangladesh, and with a rapidly-growing population of more than 1.5 million, the amount of urban waste has become a problem for the city's inefficient waste management system. To help cut down on the problem, people without other options have elected to work as "waste pickers", sifting through the rubbish heaps and collecting items such as batteries, bottles, cans, paper, and other items which can be recycled for a very small profit (waste pickers typically make about US$ 40 - 60 per month). They often work with just their bare hands and bare feet in these unsanitary conditions (see main photo above), which leads to health problems including infections, cuts, rashes, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and other chronic health issues. The low pay from this work keeps the workers from being able to afford treatment, so when they become ill they face the difficult choice of either working through what could be a serious condition and risk making it worse, or abstaining from work and forfeiting much-needed earnings for a family that is already struggling to survive.
The Bottom Line
For US$ 8,426 BEDS will provide durable safety equipment and an educational program to protect 40 waste picker families from the negative effects of their unsanitary working conditions.
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About Bangladesh Environment and Development Society
Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS) is a unique organization that exists to help save the endangered coastal region and to develop an atmosphere of cooperation and partnership among stakeholders with different perspectives. Established in 2010, BEDS is a non-profit, non-government, research and implementation organization. BEDS was formed to focus on a variety of interrelated problems, including global warming, natural disasters, accelerated human population growth, species/wildlife extinction, biodiversity destruction, habitat loss, food crises, farming, fisheries, education, health, nutrition, and unemployment. BEDS is overseen by the NGO Affairs Bureau & Department of Social Welfare, Government of Bangladesh.