Blot on humanity: Manual Scavenging in India


Manual scavenging is a problem which is least addressed in society. There are instances of increased number of deaths because of manual scavenging in India. Manual scavenging is the way of manually cleaning or carrying human excreta from sewers and toilets. It involves using tools like brooms, buckets or baskets. Manual scavengers are from the poorest communities of India. It is also linked with the caste system in India where the so-called low caste people were expected to do this job and this problem prevails in India even today. They are from the poorest families so they can not afford to buy safety equipment hence they are exposed to bacterial and viral infections. The average life expectancy of a manual scavenger is less because respiratory organs get severely damaged. The low caste people are considered untouchables, and they are not given jobs which otherwise people of other castes could easily get. Therefore they are forced to do manual scavenging for survival. There is a lack of awareness amongst the people that manual scavenging is illegal and lack of enforcement of laws is a major reason why this challenge continues to persist. The government and society lack empathy for such people and they fail to understand their plight. The number of deaths are increasing because of manual scavenging. Change comes from society itself. The government needs to make rehabilitation schemes for manual scavengers and save them from this inhumane practice. There needs to be strict implementation of laws regarding manual scavenging only then a positive change is possible.


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