BENGALURU: Nuru Islam, a 28-year-old native of Kolkata, earns his living in Bengaluru by collecting plastic from black spots in the city. In a conversation with City Express, Islam shares a glimpse of his life.
How long have you been working in the city? What made you take this job?
Since last three years I have been working in the city. I am a school dropout. I couldn’t complete my education as I had to take up the financial responsibilities of my family. Three years ago, I came to the city in search of a better job. I couldn’t find any job, which is when I started this.
How did you start on this job?
A relative of mine would pick plastic from garbage to earn money. He is the one who got me into this.
What all do you collect from garbage?
I collect plastic bottles, plastic covers, used plastic/metal goods and glass equipments from the garbage.
What is your daily routine?
I start work from Bommanahalli at 3 pm with my cycle rickshaw and cover Silkboard, Madiwala, Tavarekere, SG Palaya and Koramangala. I am usually done around 12 midnight.
How much recyclable material do you collect? How much do you earn?
On an average, I collect 10-15 kilogram plastic and 2-3 kilogram glass or metal daily. I earn `10/kg for plastic. I earn around `6,000/month.
Where do you sell the goods you collect?
There is a shop in Bommanahalli that buys the stuff I collect. The shop owner there got me this cycle.
BBMP has banned the use of plastic in the city. Has there been a dip in business following the prohibition?
I don’t see any decline in the use of plastic. I am still collecting the same quantity of plastic that I used to before the ban.
Do you have a family?
My family is from a village near Kolkata. I am not married. I have two siblings.
What kind of challenges do you face with the job?
This isn’t eactly an ideal job. I am doing this since I have no other option. I’ll be unemployed otherwise. There are times when I injure myself, while picking up broken glass or sharp metal-edged items. Things only take a worse turn during the monsoon, when I spot snakes around the garbage spots.