These pictures show what is probably the world’s filthiest job. Every day, thousands of manual scavengers in India unplug the dirtiest sewers and drains in the capital city of New Delhi without any safety equipment or protection. This is also one of the deadliest jobs in India, with a high number of fatalities due to infection and gas inhalation. According to Harnam Singh, Chairman of the Delhi Safai Karamchari Commission, (Delhi Cleaning Workers Commission), almost 70 percent of manual scavengers die on the job. Even though India formally banned manual scavenging in 1993, government agencies still use thousands of manual  scavengers to clean drains throughout India. These workers make Rs. 180/- a day, and are often provided with poor-quality grain alcohol to numb their senses before getting into the sewers. After a lot of pressure from policy groups the government made it mandatory for contractors to provide these cleaners with long boots and gloves, but they still are long way from getting gas masks and other important safety equipment.

Sagar Kaul/Barcroft India