Scavenging ‘gold’ in the heart of health hazards

scavengersIt is a clear case of survival of the fittest at the Tamale metropolitan landfill site in the Northern Region, where some residents spend hours daily scavenging what has become their gold – scrap metals.

The level of poverty among the people and the zeal to make a living has pushed the unemployed and children in the metropolis to make the landfill site, located between the Gbalahi and Kulahi communities in the Sagnerigu District, their source of livelihood.

By 6:00am daily, the scavengers, some as young as nine years, invade the landfill site and others within the metropolis, to await loads of trucks dispose waste for them to feed on despite the health implications to their lives.   scavengers1For the scavengers, the pungent stench from the heaps of disposed waste that fill the atmosphere is not enough deterrent to keep them away from the landfill site, which has become their office.

Mohammed Abubakar, a student, tells his story of digging the heap of refuse in search of aluminum during vacation.

“I come here to search for livelihood. I buy food from this work. I assist my parents with what I get daily. I’m able to make a daily maximum sale of GHC3 with 30 kilograms of scrap,” Abubakar told TV3.

Iddrisu Ayishetu who married in 2016, joined her husband in the scrap mine business soon after their marriage. She said she prefers that to being a housewife, though she is not oblivious of the threat the business poses to her health.

“I don’t have gloves. I get sick sometimes from this work but I have no option to help my parents but this. I can’t afford [gloves] but will be happy if someone can provide me with one”.

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By Zubaida Ismail||Ghana