18 January, 2021

Vicky The Manual Scavenger

A day in the life of a sanitation worker

Photograph by Vijay Pandey
Vicky The Manual Scavenger

Manual scavenging is banned in India, but every day ­thousands of sanitation workers get into open drains, septic tanks and sewage lines across the country, ­cleaning muck, slush and human excreta ­manually—something despicable and unthinkable in a modern, civilised society. ­Technological advancements have made it possible to treat the waste in a scientific manner, without the need for anybody to do it manually. And yet, for someone like Vicky Pracha, the day begins and ends with a dip in the cesspool. Outlook follows the 37-year-old sanitary worker from Ghaziabad to record what it is like for those who have to put their lives and dignity at stake to keep our homes and habitats clean.

Vicky, born into an...



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