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Do you think your job stinks? Spare a thought for the guys that have the dirtiest of all professions — Bangladeshi sewer cleaners.
These unsung heroes of this world risk their lives just to clean other people’s shit.
Spending their days plunging into filthy drains without any protective gear, these brave men are also known by the derogatory term methor. It means “those who clean shit” and brings them nothing but disrespect and disgrace.
Courtesy of Telegraph
Take a deep breath and dive in.
Now, imagine this. Topless sewer cleaners dive fearlessly into the pool of human waste. They often have no special suit or safety equipment like goggles or a mask.
As they’re often submerged up to their mouth, they cling to ropes to avoid getting sucked in by surging water. Once they are ready, they skillfully navigate their way deep into the brownish filth with their bare hands or a bamboo stick.
And when the sewer cleaners find the blockage, they scoop out the liquid filth to unblock the city’s underground drainage.
Relentless monsoon seasons don’t make it easier.
It does sound like a joke, but these Bangladeshi men earn as little as $10 a day. The pay is truly miserable. But still, is the hazardous work worth it?
As employees of the Dhaka City Corporation, they are seemingly fixing the unfixable.
The Bangladeshi capital — a city of over 14 million residents — is suffering from an inadequate drainage system. And the situation often gets out of control as the characteristic heavy rain leads to frequent flooding.
Whenever the monsoon hits the country, streets of Dhaka fill with water like a bathtub. The overburdened drains clog several times a month and the low-lying city becomes one messy swimming pool.
As disgusting as sewer cleaning sounds, someone has to deal with the situation right away. So the skilled men hold their breath and plunge shirtless into the clogged-up dirt to battle the sludge produced in the tunnels crisscrossing the overcrowded and polluted city.
Courtesy of 24hod
Not only is it the dirtiest job, it’s also pretty dangerous.
Needless to say, these Bangladeshi men are putting their lives at stake.
The hot, slippery, toxic chambers easily turn into death traps that simply won’t let go. With drains full of poisonous fumes, chemicals and insects, manual sewer cleaning is definitely one of the most dangerous activities in the world.
Moreover, there’s nothing to protect the bodies of sewer cleaners from the filthy sludge. And this takes a heavy toll on their health.
While some of them get killed by an explosion of a septic tank, most of them die from drowning or asphyxiation. But what’s perhaps even more disturbing, an unknown number of others suffer from long-term health effects from frequent dives.
Bangladeshi sewer cleaners often face medical issues such as nausea, skin diseases, anemia or jaundice. The acidity of the rotten waste is particularly harmful to the skin, too.
Despite the numbers of deaths ever on the rise, conditions in Bangladesh have failed to improve. But things are changing —the alarming state led to recent government’s ban on manual sewer cleaning in another capital of New Delhi in India.
But not everything about this job is shit. Sometimes they strike gold.
It seems there’s nothing that would convince you to hop down the manhole. But actually there are some individuals making money off the sewers and the area of Dhaka’s historic gold bazaar is the perfect spot.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to see people looking for tiny specks of gold that were accidentally brushed into the sewer. And with a bit of luck, those who do not mind getting their hands dirty can easily come across a fine piece of jewellery.
From rags to riches, as they say.