Atthe Lae’s biggest rubbish dump alongthe Bemayong-Back road area in Papua New Guinearsquo;s second largest city, Ricky Beuno and ther youths call ittheir home.
Betoit’s more than just a home,they say.
Every morning and afternoonthey search through huge piles of rubbish for scrap metal and ther items that can be sold to recyclers in Lae to generate an income for their families.
“We collect scrap metals and ther “valuables” that we can sell and get money,” said Ricky
Ricky and ther youths make up a small community of about one thousand men, women and children who live offthe rubbish that comes from Lae’s industries.
Many ofthem don’t have a formal job. They also chose to live illegally on that land that many of us might see as hazardous to our health.
“Sometimes it’s embarrassing when people stare at us as we dig through stacks of rubbish, but it’s our life. Where else can we go?” Ricky said.
About a month ago,the Lae’s urban authority saidthe dump could no longer holdthe amount of rubbish that Lae city is producing. They proposed thatthe dump must be shut down permanently.
The authority meanwhile is negotiating withthe provincial government to relocatethe dump.
Despitethe health risks, many ofthem haven’t made uptheir minds to leave because ofthe fortunesthey get offthe dump.
Ifthe dump closes, Ricky and ther families who fend off this dump will have to look for ther alternatives to sustainingtheir livelihoods.
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