This policy brief has been produced based on a study titled ‘Waste and Sanitation Workers’ Working Condition, Occupational Health and Safety, Wages, Livelihood and Exclusion’, under the ‘Dignifying Lives: Inclusive approach for socioeconomic empowerment of informal waste and sanitation workers’ project, funded by the European Union.
Waste collectors make their living from the things we throw away; rubbish to us is survival to them. However, a large national study carried out in city corporations and municipalities across Bangladesh has revealed appalling working conditions for waste and sanitation workers. While being responsible for almost all the recycling and recovery of waste in the country, they pay a high price in their own health, dignity, and opportunity to engage with the rest of society. There are systematic ways in which women face further discrimination and risks of violence. Workers are doing their best to organize themselves, but these efforts need to be supported and strengthened.