Poverty in Iran Leads Children to Search Through Rubbish

By Staff Writer

One Iranian man died in Shiraz on October 21 after eating rotten food from a trashcan, a chilling example of the prevalence of poverty in Iran. Many in Iran are now so poor that they have to resort to digging through the garbage to find food to eat or resources to sell on, including young children.

The IRNA website wrote: “Due to the unfair distribution of resources, as well as the spread of poverty and addiction, we are faced with the phenomenon of garbage searching as a new social harm; unemployment, poverty, government failure, and addiction are among the main sources of garbage searching.”

Children as trash collectors

In fact, children as young as six-years-old have been recruited the government waste mafia to collect and sort through the garbage in order to cut labour costs – children will earn less than one-tenth the salary of an adult worker. This means that the Iranian Regime can make more money from the waste, which is sorted into incineration and recycling.

State-run news agency Tasnim wrote: “The lack of precise monitoring, and licensing of garbage collection to contractors who use deprived children, who have to work for bread, has caused the formation of authorized and unauthorized recycling centers on the border of southern regions of Tehran and in centers such as Mahmud Abad and similar places. A number of our compatriots and foreigners work and live in the worst conditions in the middle of a mountain of garbage.”

Even worse, these children are exposed to typhoid, AIDS, hepatitis, intestinal parasites because they were given safety equipment or training. They may also experience knee and back pain because their bodies are not strong enough to shift heavy weights around. None of these are treated because the children don’t have insurance.

While the public officials in the local area many even demand half of a child’s wages every month, but the economic pressures on these children mean that they can’t refuse.

Garbage searching women

An increasing number of women have also been forced to search through garbage in order to meet the needs of their families, but many of them are struggling with addiction or other issues that cut them off from regular employment – what little of it there is.

The IRNA website wrote: “Women, in cooperation with unofficial centres, go to the collection or disposal sites, in order to be able to cover their living expenses by collecting recycled garbage and selling them.”