A study on Recognising, Preventing and controlling the phenomenon of Child Scavenging (Waste Picking) in Tehran
Publisher: Society for the Protection of Children’s Rights (IRSPRC) / Publication: 2019
Children are vulnerable minorities who always need care. Their protection from harm and exploitation is a very complex and difficult matter with long-term implications for society. Waste picking by minors is recognized as one of the most harmful, worst and polluted types of child labour, in conflict with human dignity.
Waste recycling is a profitable industry in Iran, but unfortunately many factors such as the lack of separation of waste at the source, the lack of standard waste collection facilities and mechanisms, and the lack of training, have caused child scavengers to be seen simply as a collection and separation tool for this industry. Informal waste segregation means that the industry does not abide by the labour laws and other standards in various occupations. Workers in this sector are deprived of job benefits such as insurance and undertake very risky and traumatic work over long working hours in overly polluted environments. These and other factors have attracted mostly Afghan immigrants and children to the waste industry.
The waste picking child is like a ghost, exploited with contaminated clothing and face and invisible. This research showed that the millions of profits a year for recycling waste go to municipalities and in particular to contractors. This finding becomes even more tragic when we know that every garbage collector collects up to 150 kilos of waste per day, but his or her share in the huge business is only 18% – which means that their shares from waste picking are only six percent. Most waste picking children emigrate from Herat province of Afghanistan illegally, but recent economic hardship have forced Iranian families and children also to join this industry.
The main motivation of this research arose from the lack of comprehensive and targeted studies on the common phenomenon of waste management; this book wanted to address the ignorance of this problem and the rising alarm bells on subject of savaging children. The research investigated the phenomenon of waste management, examining its underlying factors in order to reduce its damage.
Child Scavenging, the research report by Kameel Ahmady and the others, was published in 2009, sponsored and commissioned by the Association for the Protection of Children and Youth Rights. 22 areas of Tehran were investigated for the first time, in the hope that the results will be considered by public organizations such as municipalities, NGOs and custodians of children’s rights.