Some garbage collectors of Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) are blaming the corporation for various skin diseases they suffer from, as it does not give them any protective gear.
Md Hridoy, a worker of CCC's conservancy unit, was found scratching his hands while collecting garbage in front of the Almas Cinema Hall in Dampara earlier this month.
He had no protective gear on.
Asked about the itching, Hridoy told this correspondent that the CCC appointed him almost a year ago but never gave him any protective gear.
“I have been suffering from itching for the last six months as I work with no gloves,” said Hridoy, who works for daily wages.
Similar picture was seen at Askar Dighir Par, Shahid Saifuddin Khaled Road, KB Aman Ali Road in Bakalia, Aturar Depot Bazar, Katalganj, and KB Fazlul Quader Road areas in the port city.
Md Shuvo, another worker of the CCC conservancy department, said, “Safety gears are necessary to protect us from contagious diseases but authorities are yet to provide us with those. Our job is not permanent. So we cannot raise our voice.”
Shuvo gets Tk 324 a day for collecting waste from households. He carries the garbage in a van and dumps them on a CCC truck at Dampara.
The city corporation launched its door-to-door garbage collection service in January 2017. The port city dwellers produce around 2,000 tonnes of waste every day, according to sources at CCC.
At present, 3,500 people are working at the CCC conservancy department. Barnali Barua, assistant professor at the Department of Dermatology, Chattogram Medical College Hospital, said people who do such work might become vulnerable to skin diseases like dermatitis, if they continue working without protective gear.
About workers' allegations, Shafiqul Mannan Siddique, chief conservancy officer at CCC, said, “We gave them gloves, goggles, boots and other safety equipment several years ago but they were never interested in using them. They said they could not work comfortably wearing those.”
He admitted that the workers, who were recruited in the last two years for the door-to-door service, were yet to get the equipment. “We will distribute them very soon.”
Echoing Mannan, CCC Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Shamsuddoha said, “The conservancy workers were given safety equipment on several occasions since 2008 but they were reluctant to use those. We will make it mandatory for them.”
However, the conservancy workers brushed off the officials' claims.
This correspondent talked to at least 10 garbage collectors assigned at different zones and they said they were never given protective gear. Most of them have been working for 10-12 years.