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Rag-pickers keep railway station clean

A rag-picker collecting plastic wastes on the tracks of the railway station in Visakhapatnam on Monday.A selfless service seldom acknowledged has finally turned into a boon for the travellers at Vizag Railway Station. Thanks to rag-pickers, the railway station wears a cleaner and litter-free look. A group of men silently work on the tracks each time a train departs. Their job is to pick up all the leftover plastic wastes and water bottles that clog the tracks of the railway line.

Carrying a white sack on their shoulders, the men get to work from the early hours of the day, gathering every piece of plastic waste strewn around the station. These, they later sell to local dealers of acid wash who recycle and reuse the bottles. The process has left the railway station litter-free, giving a welcome relief to the scores of passengers who travel from the city. Vizag, being a popular tourist destination in the State, is visited by tourists from across the country. This initiative has paid off to ensure that station is plastic-free.

“We estimate around 1,200 rag-pickers to be present in and around the Vizag Railway Station area,” said P. Vasu of Association for Regional Tribal Development (Urban Wing).

Many of these rag-pickers live under the Ramamurthy Pantulupeta bridge and Sagar Nagar area and make a living by selling such wastes to scrap dealers.

Incidentally, the practice to engage rag-pickers to keep local railway stations clean is prevalent at some of the other stations such as New Delhi, Dehradun and Haridwar.



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