A Slice of Scavengers´ Life

The Bantar Gebang Garbage Disposal Facility.

The House of Sumitra (38) and Iin (35) in Ciketing Village, West Java, is mourning from the recent burial of their beloved 5-year old daughter. The view of children playing barefooted on the muddy ground did not cheer up the atmosphere.

"Thank you for coming. Our child passed away last Monday. Please pray for her [so that she goes to heaven]," said Iin, the mother, to gres.news.

Looking sad, Iin revealed how their daughter died. "She suffered from a fever. She coughed and vomited water. She didn’t want to eat and only wanted to drink," she said.

Iin and her husband had taken their daughter to the local community health center (Puskesmas). "We could only bring her to a local community health center. She was given affordable drugs," she said. The couple could not afford to obtain services from better health care centers.

The couple work as garbage scavengers as a living. "My husband has been suffering from coughs for a long time. He works as a scavenger at a nearby garbage disposal facility," she said.

Iin and Sumitra may not realize that living near the Bantar Gebang Garbage Disposal Facility, Bekasi, is dangerous for their health, for instance, such place produces methane gas (CH4), from the decomposition of the garbage.

CH4 can be quickly absorbed by the lungs and even at low concentration it can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. At high concentration, the component can cause loss of consciousness and even death. (Gresnews.com/Edy Susanto)