What Is Rag Picking?

Millions of people throughout the world earn a living by collecting and sorting waste and trash. Whether they live in a city or in the countryside, these workers make their living from a process called "rag picking".

Rag pickers are people who go through other people's garbage and pick out anything that is marketable. This may include rags, clothing, broken china and glass, bones, scrap metal, or any other material that can be sold for a profit.

These rag pickers work for little money and have to deal with many problems related to the job. These include ill health, a lack of sanitation, and physical abuse.

Despite the fact that rag picking is a profession that has been around for centuries, the conditions of these workers have not improved significantly. In the past, rag picking was an extremely poor and squalid occupation that often involved children and other people who were vulnerable to communicable diseases like smallpox and tuberculosis.

In most countries, rag pickers are legally considered to be child labour and the practice is illegal. However, it continues to be one of the most popular and petty occupations for people in developing countries.

Most rag pickers are uneducated and live in impoverished and rural immigrant households (Chatterjee, 2015). They usually work for middle men who buy the goods they collect and then pay them based on volume or weight of the materials.

Paper, plastics and other recyclable products are more commonly collected by rag pickers than metal or household waste. Cardboard, for instance, is a common material that rag pickers acquire and sell for profit.

They also use a variety of chemicals to clean the rags they collect, such as bleaching powder, caustic soda, or acids. These chemicals can cause cancer, liver disease and other serious health issues.

As a result, many countries have implemented rules to regulate the activities of rag pickers. This includes requiring safety equipment such as gloves, helmets and boots to protect their health.

It is also important to ensure that the people who are in the position of rag pickers are able to receive health care services when they need it. This is particularly true for women who are at a greater risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and other contaminants.

These chemicals can cause a range of health risks, including respiratory and eye irritation. Some of these conditions can also lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening.

Moreover, rag pickers are at a high risk of contracting diseases like typhoid and salmonella. This can be a very serious situation for rag pickers who are unable to seek medical attention in time when they become ill.

Another issue that rag pickers face is being subjected to harassment from stray animals. Animals such as dogs and cats are attracted to the rag pickers' work, and they can easily attack them and harm them.

It is also vital that the rag pickers have access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and adequate protection against the elements when they are working. This is especially true for those who are women and children.

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