Waste Cleaner, Street Sweeper in Dhaka City manifests the Narrow Mindset of City Dwellers – Zuairia Zahra Haq

Human Rights

I can still recall, a few months back, on a nice morning, the whistle of the regular local waste collector made me open the door. I hassled to fetch the dustbin and kept it out of our main door. Just after that, when I was turning my face to get in, my eyes fall on that little boy. He was with a stinky-filthy sack on his back full of our residential wastes. I can distinctly call back his blameless pair of eyes. The white shirt that he put on turned grey as it had soaked up more than enough dirt. That very boy moved my thoughts sorely. He almost resembled my primary school going young brother. It gave me shock that a boy of same age of my brother works as a waste collector without going to school. I felt distressed for him. I was eager to talk to him. But the little boy did not give me that chance. He ran as fast as he can as he had to knock several doors to collect their everyday garbage.
‘Waste Management’ is one of the most crucial integrants of a city. We get relieved by providing our day to day rubbish and garbage to the collector. But most of us have no clue that the next stages of the processing of these wastes are sufficiently toilsome and complex. There are innumerous people of varying ages; working is this sector all around the country. As the people of towns produce tons of wastes each day, all these debris and rubbish are needed to be dumped and systematically processed. There are multiple stages of processes starting from waste collection to dumping in landfills. If any massacre takes place in any of these stages, severe environmental adulteration can occur at a super fast rate. So, to proceed on the entire work, a group of active people are working hard on daily basis. They are putting all their efforts to clean up the filths we generate.
But, the matter of sorrow is that, though they are taking part in one of the most vital sector of our cities, they have to lead a very miserable life. Their monthly monetary allowance is very beggarly. Their economic condition is too far from meeting their basic needs. The most pathetic portion here is that, our attitude towards them is extremely narrow. They are victim of disgrace. Their garments get stained and shabby with our grimes. They cut their hands and feet for several times due to our unaware disposal of broken glasses. Still they have no complain against us. But, we are so ungrateful to them that some of us even do not want to increase their monthly payment. Actively or passively, we degrade them as we think that they do dirty work. We also have a common tendency to misbehave with them. Most of our thought is so mean that we assume that they are bound to serve us and do their waste collecting job properly for their own benefit. But, the reality is not like that. If they stop doing their job, we would be pleading them to get back to their work as none of us love to stay in filthy environment!
We wonder how and why the western world has ensured their fast and sustainable development in each and every sector. If we investigate it we will find out that one of the salient factors behind the rapid and continuous development of the western world is their respect towards all kind of professions. There a school teacher is seen to work as a shoe maker in free time. Not even a bit of his dignity and respect gets decayed. Again, a varsity student serves as a waiter of a restaurant while the vacation goes on. The children there also seen to come with great ideas of business but not by skipping the school!
Our society is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each and every pieces of it is to be properly involved here to finalize the whole set. Alike a jigsaw puzzle, for the continuous uninterrupted growth of a society, there is an obvious requirement of a set of people offering various types of services. It means, only doctors, engineers and teachers are not all we need, rather shoe-makers, shopkeepers, waste collectors are important too. If we want to make positive changes of our beloved country, our very first step can be ensuring the basic needs and showing respect towards those impoverished people who wake up early in the morning to ensure a clean city for all of us. The pure prayers of those hard working poor people will fresh our soul and make our cities cleaner and more beautiful.

The Author is a Student of Bangladesh University of Professionals