Sanitation workers often have to get their hands dirty without proper safety gear to clean the city. As a result, many fall sick on multiple occasions but have to carry on without any complaints. “But now, since the COVID surge, many are fearing that their work will be the reason that their family might get in danger.
More than 35,000 sanitation workers are employed by the GHMC, which includes 28,000 on a contract basis, form the backbone of the waste management system in Hyderabad. The allegation by most workers is that they have been working without social security or safety gear for years. With the increasing Covid-19 cases and the biomedical waste generated as a result, these workers are afraid for themselves and the lives of their families. On the contrary, GHMC officials claim that proper measures are being taken for the safety of the sanitation workers by providing them all the help and safety gear.
Workers who come in direct contact with toxic gases and human waste are often at risk of chronic diseases. And now the pandemic has made their lives worse. The number of covid positive workers has increased multiple folds in the second wave of the pandemic. They allege that they have not been provided with gloves or masks despite frequent demands and the high risk to their lives.