In parallel with the economic crisis, social disasters heighten due to the regime’s corruption and malignant policies reports by The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran). One of the disasters is the increasing number of child laborers and garbage collectors. The Iranian people are living in squalor as the regime directs its monetary income to nuclear and missile work.
On Tuesday, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of Tehran’s City Council, spoke of the “garbage mafia”, using child labor, deprived workers, and foreign nationals. There are at least 14,000 garbage collectors in Tehran alone.
“The garbage mafia, by using working children and foreign nationals, homeless individuals, and deprived workers, has caused social harm.
This is in addition to creating environmental issues and threatening the health of society. The second obstacle is the daily life of urban management and lack of courage to make a fundamental change in the municipal waste system,” Hashemi said.
Of the 14,000 garbage collectors identified in a 2018 study, 4700 are children. Around 40% of these children have received no education, 37% have dropped out of school due to poverty, and 59% are accompanied whilst working. 69% of the children that scavenge, work without gloves for at least 10 hours a day.
“Dry waste turnover in Tehran is about three thousand billion Tomans per year, 70% of which is the share of informal garbage collection.
In recent years, many contractors have earned so much money in contracts with municipalities to take responsibility for collecting and sorting dry waste. They have now become very rich,” wrote the state-run Shar news agency in September 2020.
The Society of Imam Ali charity reported in 2019 that child laborers collect an average of 60kgs of garbage per day and live in the waste segregation workshops. The workshops in question are usually garages on the edges of cities, with little sanitation facilities, exposing the children to a variety of infectious diseases.
In an article titled “Garbage Collecting Children are Cheap Labor”, on 29 March 2018, the State-run ILNA news agency reported; “The municipality is faced with a problem. If it stops the garbage collecting activities, it will be forced to pay higher wages to workers of legal age. These children can’t claim their rights through legal channels.
And this is why they’re being abused. These children are considered cheap labor, and contractors prefer to keep them at any cost.”
The children are physically and psychologically mistreated. In October of 2019, the State-run Tasnim News Agency said, “the lack of official oversight on the situation of garbage collector children has enabled some municipality contractors to abuse these children and make huge profits from their daylong work while giving them a very little reward.”
Tasnim acknowledged that “Most of these children spend the night in the garbage lots and live there, and we all know how vulnerable they are. Some of these children are infected with Hepatitis, AIDS, Typhoid, and Tetanus.”