Sewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 A Day In Bangladesh

by : UNILAD on : 25 May 2018 09:24
Sewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 A Day In BangladeshSewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 A Day In BangladeshBarcroft

Sewer cleaners are paid as little as £7.50 a day to clear blockages in Bangladesh, with their bare hands.


Many die every year as they swim through the sewers, in the capital of Dhaka, without any protective gear and often using just a stick to clear blockages.

With a population of nearly 20 million, the city suffers from an inadequate drainage system and heavy rain and flooding make the problem worse.

Sewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 An Hour In BangladeshSewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 An Hour In BangladeshBarcroft

Dhaka City Corporation reportedly pays workers between £4.50 and £7.50 a day.


The City Corporation, along with the local Water Supply and Sewerage Authority have previously been reported to have been tied up in figuring out how best to resolve the problem of blockages.

It was widely reported in 2016 – when two sewer cleaners in Mumbai died on the job – unions in the country were claiming they were two of ‘dozens’ of sewer workers who die in India every year because they’re not provided with any safety equipment.

Map of Bangladesh and DhakaMap of Bangladesh and DhakaGoogle Maps

According to the BBC, Binod Lahot, a sewer worker, said:

When I lift my hand to my mouth to take a bite of food, I feel like it smells of sewage. But I still eat it. Why? Because I have to stay alive and go back to work tomorrow.

Most days you’ll find him in a hole in the ground, scooping out sludge with his bare hands, unblocking the city’s sewer lines. It’s a critical job, but workers like Mr Lahot get paid less than $5 (£3.50) a day.

Social workers have previously estimated around 100 sewer workers die every year across India.

In 2014, India’s Supreme Court ruled the families of all those who died while working in sewers since 1993 should be given ‘around $15,000 (£10,000) as compensation’.

Sewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 A Day In BangladeshSewer Cleaners Clear Out Blockages For £7.50 A Day In BangladeshBarcroft Media

It’s hard to think many go to work and risk their lives in the process, and of course it’s not just sewage cleaners in some parts of the world who do so.

According to Time Magazine, almost ‘twice as many engineers as nurses died of fatal injuries while working in 2014’ in the US.

There were 21 engineer and 12 nurse deaths in the year alone, which are reported to have included ‘falls, car accidents and exposure to deadly chemicals’.

There were 111 deaths for every 100,000 loggers, who had the most dangerous civilian job in the US in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries.

Fewer Than One In 10 Brits Have Landed Their Dream JobFewer Than One In 10 Brits Have Landed Their Dream JobGetty

In a recent study in the UK, it was revealed fewer than one in 10 Brits have landed the job they dreamed of as a child.

Researchers who polled 2,000 adults about their long-term aspirations also found slightly more than one in 10 have worked in their perfect job – but don’t any longer.

Another seven in 10 believe you’re never too old to let go of your childhood dreams – but around eight in ten are still yet to achieve theirs.

Three in five think it’s healthy to hang onto your dream as a source of hope, even as it becomes more unlikely you’ll be able to achieve it.

82 per cent of Brits over 55 have yet to achieve their lifelong dreams, one third still hold out hope their aspirations will be realised in their twilight years.

Stock images of workersStock images of workersPexels

Hope Bastine, psychologist for high-tech mattress maker, Simba, which commissioned the study, said:

Naturally it’s easy to look at the results of this study from a glum perspective, but on the flip side it does show we’re a glass half full nation, even in the face of reality.

When we are younger the world can seem full of endless possibilities, and we are encouraged to shoot for the moon, but soon certain realities begin to set in.

When this happens, it is encouraging to see many of us still receive the support we need from friends and family to follow our dreams, even as life complicates matters.

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Topics: Health


Bureau of Labor Statistics and 2 others
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    evisions to the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI)

  2. TIME

    The Most Dangerous Jobs in America

  3. BBC

    India's sewer workers risking their lives