Occupational Hazards and Health Status of Trash Picker Children in Faisalabad City, Punjab, Pakistan
AbstractTrash picking is an inferior, exploitative and inhumane economic activity; considered as the most vulnerable and neglected class in the urban informal labor market. The present study has been designed to examine the occupational environment and the hazards; and its effects on the health status of trash picker children. The snowball sampling technique was used to select the final sample unit; about 250 respondents (i.e. Trash picker children) in the age group of 7 to 18 years were selected. A well-designed interviewed schedule (structured questionnaire) was used to collect the responses from the respondents. The study found that trash picker children faced various physical problems encircled by mosquitoes, flies, sharp metal, broken glass, broach, stray animals and feces lying around the garbage heaps. Most of them never worn gloves (97.2%) and never use any instrument (87.2%) for the self-protection. The working environment is hot and hazardous with a high risk of injuries; as the most (62.8%) of children got injuries/cuts inflicted by sharp glass or mucronate metal. Also, the different type of diseases found among half percent of the children; in which most of them suffered from digestion problems (15.6%), skin problems (13.6%) and respiratory problems (9.2%). These children are marginalized, cannot afford health services; received no treatment for injuries or many illnesses and preferred self-medication; sometimes visited to the local doctors or hospitals depending upon the diseases. Hence, there is a need to take an immediate step to provide safety equipment from the hazardous environment and intensive focus for the betterment of their health.
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