Rahma, a little girl of twelve years old devoting her time to scavenging, had an interview with a member of an association. Kamal is an active member of this association, when he seized his pen and papers to ask a few questions; however, Rahma attempted to avoid him. Kamal convinced her to talk.
Kamal: Sorry, how long have you been scavenging?
Rahma: Well, I have been scavenging for five years. We have been taught by our mother. She is good and serious at this task. Our father walked out on us before I was born. Scavenging is the only way of our living.
Kamal: Have you got any brothers and sisters?
Rahma: Yes, one sister and two brothers. My brothers are older than my sister and me. They have studied for three years, and then they dropped out from school.
Kamal: Why are you scavenging?
Rahma: Well, scavenging is better than begging though some beggars make a fortune more than scavengers. These latter, make their living by picking up the thrown materials in the dustbin and selling them, these tools including used papers, plastic, bottles, metal pieces, tins, rags, clothes, and other objects from street garbage or dumpsites.
Kamal: Don’t worry, this is a worldwide problem. You shouldn’t be shameful of it. This problem is prevalent in big cities like Casa, Rabat, Fes, and Marakech. As we usually read in newspapers and magazines. But who do it exactly?
Rahma: Since it ‘s a source of living, it’s done by adults and street children that are seen eating from garbage cans hunted in dumpsites. Adult beggars and socially disadvantaged children also scavenge. In some areas the habit is so compelling that garbage dumps often swarm with scavengers. But I think scavenging is not a dignified undertaking. It’s a shameful act, but those who scavenge do not see it this way. For them, scavenging is a decent way of picking out a meager living and there is no less of dignity in doing so. Scavenging is not only a moral wrong; it’s also a legal wrong.
Kamal: What are the hazards of this scavenging?
Rahma: in fact, courts of law rarely receive litigations involving scavengers, no wonder many of them believe that they are making a living, but scavengers face numerous health hazards. Most factories, especially in major cities they spill their toxic effluents into garbage dumps and residential areas causing a fearsome health risk. Some of the most dangers wastes emanate from hospitals, ports, garbage and even homes. Some of these hazards are in the form of solid waste and are found in open-pit dumpsites.
Kamal: But I think some scavengers make a good living out of their task.
Rahma: What living?! You can’t bear standing in a dumpsite for even a minute. This is the first hazard!
Kamal: I was told that some scavengers pick up materials and they repair them in order to be sold in flea markets.
Rahma: Yes, we can observe scavengers and children swarm looking for sellable objects, but this needs patience, skills, and exposure to hazards. We rarely pick up valuable objects in Morocco.