Kurdish Poor turn to Scavenging at Local Dumps

The area was chosen as a dumping ground for Sulaymaniyah in 1991 and in 2014 a recycling plant was supposed to be built here, with construction slated to start in 2015. However work was put on hold after the project couldn’t get the right permissions and because of a lack of roading, water supply and power supply into the area.

Another danger the scavengers must deal with is the risk of disease. There is all kinds of potentially lethal rubbish at the dump, says Nayaz Mohammed, a local dermatologist. There is even medical waste left here. “The scavengers are not only risking their own lives but the lives of others as they may spread the diseases they contract,” she told NIQASH.

A few meters away from Yusuf, a young boy names Ari is searching through the rubbish for scraps of copper and iron.

“We always leave here with scratches and bruises,” the 12-year-old explains; Ari is here to try and help support his mother and sister after his father died. “There is also the danger of being run over. But we really don’t have any other choice. This kind of work brings my family about IQD15,000 [around US$10] a day and we can live off that.”

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