Sanitation Workers in Pakistan are oftentimes denied their basic fundamental times: they are not paid the basic minimum wage, do not get four holidays in a month, are not registered by their employers for pension or social security, and worst of all, do not receive basic occupational health and safety gear or precautions when manually unclogging gutters. Needless to say, many lose their lives on the job, with no accountability on the part of their negligent employers.
PILAP has written an RTIs to Cantonment Board Clifton and DGML&C asking about the occupational health and safety measures undertaken to ensure the health and safety of sanitation workers. We have also written a letter to DGML&C calling for mitigation measures for the human rights violations in terms of workers getting less than minimum wage as salaries, a letter of appointment outlining their responsibilities and other details, not receiving medical leave, not being compensated for working on Sundays and other holidays, and not being provided with safety gear and other precautions when unclogging gutters. A similar letter was written to Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Chief Minister. PILAP held an information session in September 2022 with Naeem Sadiq for its members to better understand the issue and come up with possible solutions.
PILAP has collaborated with NED University to create a prototype robotic sewage cleaner which will significantly reduce the need for sanitation workers to go into the muck to clean the drains manually – the contraption, called Bhalai Machine, will pick garbage, solid waste and help reduce the danger faced by sanitation workers. NED University has started work on the manufacturing side now.