It was very moving to read the piece on child waste collectors in last week's issue of Star Weekend. It was frustrating, on one hand, to learn about the inefficient process of waste collection in our city—the way that the city corporation seems to have overlooked the employment of children for the work even though it's clearly visible all over the city, and moreover the way that a city of 180 million people relies on young children to handle its waste disposal. It was heartbreaking to read about children as young as 12 years old rummaging through mountains of toxic waste and going without food, and earning just a few thousand takas a month for it.
However, the article does a good job of highlighting how simply putting a stop to these practices isn't a solution. Taking these jobs away from them would probably just heighten their financial struggles; and regardless, they would continue to be mistreated by other employers, in restaurants, offices, and other menial jobs. In addition to educating these workers about their basic rights, the organisations must be held accountable for their employment and exploitation of unskilled and underage workers.