rag pickers

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rag.jpg The Hindu reported today that rag pickers, beggars who collect trash and sell off reusable bits of it in India, are sneaking into dumps. Toxic contamination can’t keep them out of the rubbage yards and can’t stop them from burning trash in search of metal scrap to sell.

The image of these clandestine fires led me to search the Internet for more rag picker trivia. I found this decent overview describing the tough but honorable profession of collecting what would otherwise be wasted and somehow forging it into a living. And then I found this article declaring recycled bags made by Indian beggars to be all the rage in London.

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3 Responses to “rag pickers”

  1. kimberly Says:

    Aagh. Fashion from misery. I get the microenterprise aspect, and its benefits. And I think keeping the operation small makes sense for the reasons the agency’s rep mentions. But…aagh. It’s hard to square.

    Today’s BBC web crawl kept going on about how India will have the world’s 5th largest economy in the next decade. I wonder what that means for the growth or contraction of ragpicking as an economic survival option.

  2. Julia Genatossio Says:

    It’s not fashion from misery. It’s actually a brilliant way for scavengers to make a decent living. We also distribute bags made from trash picked by Indonesian scavengers.
    This is a new textile that informs us on many levels including the environmental devastation of the earth and the need to create viable livelihoods for some of the millions that live in the countless urban slums on this small planet we all share.
    If nothing else, this is a new textile that can be viewed from an aesthetic perspective alone.

  3. Guilty Political Fashion « everydaytrash Says:

    [...] I discovered the small company of Monsoon Vermont via a recent comment made by one of the founders on an old post about rag pickers in India.  I tend to be a bit jaded [...]

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