Equality is only a travesty in our society. On one side are the people ranting about the “not so clean” swimming pools and on the other are people diving into a mix of kitchen waste, plastic and even human excreta ( mind you, without any swimsuits!)
Perhaps, it is too much to invest on suction pumps and safety gears for the people who are already looked down upon. The existence of Manual Scavenging is a shame on our country, despite its ban since 1993 .Workers are not provided with the basic safety gear they need. They work with just a bamboo stick tied to a basket, without any shoes as it gets stuck in the sludge. A number of cases have been reported where the workers have fainted while cleaning due to inhalation of toxic mix of methane and carbon dioxide from the drains (causing heart attack). Yet, they are denied incentives or cashless medical service. Workers claim to suffer from problems of the eyes, lungs and liver and only a few live till their retirement age. They either drown or die while working due to “unchecked” health hazards. All this for a meager amount of money to run their family.
Unfortunately, it seems that emancipation from manual scavenging is still a mirage due to its persisting demand, as there will always be people available to clean the drains ( and others to exploit their circumstances). To progress towards “clean” sanitation, we must cease this violation of right to equality, life and basic healthcare. A strict regime must be enforced on the employees of sanitation workers; pumps and other equipment must be used as a substitute; worker’s safety must be given the utmost importance and not to mention, “minimum dignity” must be accorded to those who clean up the mess for the society to function smoothly.