Monday, October 22, 2007

Dharavi Tours

I took a guided tour (controversial, but highly recommended) through Dharavi, which is known as "Asia's Largest Slum."

However deplorable this place must have been, particularly during the communal riots of 1993, Dharavi today is relatively well developed (for a slum). Yes, living spaces are incredibly cramped, working conditions tend to be pretty deplorable, and there is virtually no waste management. But people do not seem destitute--almost everyone seemed employed. Industries range from plastic recycling to pottery to pastries.

The Recycling is quite impressive. In many ways, the combination of Bombay's poverty and trash-filled streets seems to lead to an efficient system of re-use and recycling. Ragpickers sell bags of plastic to recyclers, which grind it up, wash it, dry it, and melt it down again for plastic manufacturers. I took a panorama from the roof of a recycling 'factory,' take a peek in hi-res.

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