New Delhi, May 1 : To attract the attention of the authorities towards their poor working conditions across the country, hundreds of rag picking children staged a protest here today demanding human rights on the occasion of the International Workers' Day.
Thousands of children along with other workers took out a protest march demanding better working conditions.
The protestors alleged that the government was ignoring the welfare of the workers and paying no attention towards their poor working conditions.
Championing their cause for basic human rights, Ravi Prakash Sharma, a lawmaker said that rag pickers need to be organised for various welfare measures including provision of proper medical and educational facilities.
"Delhi churns out some thousand tones of garbage every day and these children pick about hundred tones of garbage daily and are working in poor working conditions. They are demanding human rights, a place to live, medical facilities and education facilities. They should also be integrated with the solid waste disposal system with is a much organized sector," added Sharma.
Most of the rag pickers in India are extremely poor, illiterate, and belong to rural immigrant families. Many commence their profession at an early young age to support their meager family incomes and most of them never attend any school or have any formal education.
While they are collecting rags they are subjected to chemical poisons and infections. Because of malnutrition, they suffer from retarded growth and anemia.
The rag pickers are very susceptible to diseases like tuberculosis and cancer due to their exposure to hazardous materials.
Numerous states are enforcing anti-begging laws and hence the traditional beggars have joined the rag-picking profession.
Labour Day has its origins in the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.