At the nearby Kaliyann Mitt Centre operated by NGO Friends International, group monitor Kem Phalla said there were 145 children living in the dump according to a survey this year, with 42 attending local schools. “This is the last place that people come to when they need work,” she said. “Some days the mothers go to the dump and leave their babies for someone to find and take care of, and then go and find a job farming or something else.” Phalla, who coined the “dirty little secret” moniker for the dump, said casualties from working in its disease-filled environment trickle into the centre’s clinic every few days, with broken bones and infected cuts among the most common injuries. “Usually if a wound is bad it’s become infected from handling glass bottles. At the centre we mostly try to divert children away from working in the dump towards other jobs. We send the children who want to find skills to our education centre in Siem Reap where they can learn tailoring, cooking and other trades.”
While visiting India to volunteer for Empower the Children,
|Garbage sorting, Dakshindari slum
The Global Post recently ran a photo essay titled, "Disposable Communities: living and working in the world's largest trash dumps (see below). These workers help countries recycle their garbage cheaply. However, the dangers of this activity are horrific: the health hazards associated with picking through medical waste, getting crushed by the huge machinery disposing of and moving around the waste, and the menace of disease and ailments from parasites and bacteria found in decaying food sometimes consumed on the spot by hungry workers. It's not a career of choice, but for hundreds of thousands of people around the world it holds both a means of survival and a daily threat of death.