( 2015 – 2016 )

A guard observes the waste dumping ground sitting inside a waste carrying truck, Dhapa, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Dhapa, is the only waste dumping ground of Kolkata, covering over 60 acres of land, started operations in 1987; originally built with the capacity to accommodate city’s wastes for 15 years. Dhapa has long outlived its efficacy. Yet 5,372 tons of municipal solid waste is dumped here everyday through 500 trucks. This mountain of garbage happens to be home of a community of people. Ignored by the rest of the civilization they find their livelihood in the trash, forgotten and forsaken. A large section of these people have been evicted and displaced from home and livelihood. They have relocated to the low-cost slums of Dhapa. Thousands of families’ survival depends on this waste dumping ground, as they earn their livelihood by picking rags, sorting out wastes, working in the recycling factories & tanneries and variety of other low-paying, unskilled jobs. They work in a hazardous condition and live in environment so toxic that it is beyond what is generally considered as a nightmare. Population of Dhapa represents an extremely vulnerable and high-risk section of society, by virtue of its acute poverty, low levels of education, abysmal state of awareness, substance abuse and the threat posed by the entire gamut of diseases including HIV/AIDS.

Workers sort out the plastic bags at the waste dumping ground.
Feet of a plastic recycle worker, covered with plastic pieces.
An old woman washes her hair and flies sit on all over her back as she lives just beside the Dhapa waste dumping ground.
One of many dead dogs found openly dumped on the road of Dhapa waste dumping ground.
A woman washes her daughter's hand and the other woman collects water from a tube-well.
Narayan Das combs his grand son's hair in front of a broken piece of mirror that he collected from the dumping ground.
Kids look at a photo album, found from the waste dumping ground.
Found objects, that the kids collect from the waste dumping ground and kept for themselves.
Locals make a fence of the house with a banner found from the dumping ground and kids play hide and seek.
A waste picker smiles at the camera with a turban on his head, found in the dump yard.
Droupodi Mandol poses for a photo with her two grandchildren. She takes care of them when their mother works at the waste dumping ground. These children have no birth certificate in spite of applying for several times.
Kids put their younger sister in a basket while their mother cooks so that she can not go outside in the waste.
Girls jump over the toxic water of tannery behind the waste dumping ground.
Bhanta Das (30), burns pork and prepare for selling and his son helps him behind the waste dumping ground.
An old woman climbs down the boundary wall of the dumping ground.
Rekha (4) sleeps inside the mosquito net since they have to suffer a lot because of mosquito also in the day time.
A girl sets fire for the smoke to keep the mosquito away. People suffer a lot due to mosquito in the evening.
Purnima searches for the phone network. Because of the waste mountain, they don't get proper network except for some particular places.

Archive is available on request.