Dangerous Gutters: South Asia's Despised Sanitation Workers

Stand in solidarity with South Asia's sanitation workers in their fight for safety and dignity at work.

Sanitation workers across South Asia, including Bangladesh, face severe challenges in their work, from discrimination, lack of respect, low wages, and dangerous working conditions. In Bangladesh, they live in separate housing compounds in terrible conditions, their children face educational barriers, and malnutrition is common due to insufficient wages. These challenges are exacerbated by socio-cultural issues, such as the caste system, leading to further marginalisation.

Mohammad Lokman Hossain shares the harsh reality of working as a sewage cleaner in Bangladesh. Despite the lack of safety equipment and precautions, dangerous working conditions, and social stigma, Lokman continues this work to provide for his family. He describes the daily risks he faces going into manholes with no harness, mask, or gloves, and how he has suffered serious injuries on the job. Lokman explains how sewages workers are despised and denied basic human dignity, even though their labour is essential for society's sanitation. He asks - is it too much for sewage workers to be provided safety gear, fair pay, and respect? This powerful first-hand account sheds light on the thankless job of manual scavenging and the need to recognise sanitation workers as equals.