India sewer cleaning deaths raise concerns for lower caste workers

India sewer cleaning deaths

In India, 7 people have died cleaning sewers. The deaths have once again reignited the debate nationally and internationally about the work conditions of lower caste people in the country.

They are dead smothered by toxic gases. They did not have safety equipment, local witnesses say. Seven people were killed by poison gas while cleaning the septic tank of a hotel in western India, without any safety equipment, according to the police.

“One of the cleaners went down into the pit but did not come out, so the other three went down to help him, and when the four did not come out, three hotel employees were then sent down there to help them. They in turn descended into the pit to try to rescue them, and have also been killed by the gases.”

“All seven were dead as the pressure of gas was high in the tank, but we could bring their bodies out,” explains fire officer Nikunj Azad to local media.

Deaths from asphyxiation in sewers or septic tanks full of toxic gases are common in India, where hundreds of thousands of Indians, belonging to the lowest castes, are responsible for cleaning underground pipes without any protection, etc. The use of manual cleaning as practiced is theoretically prohibited by law since 2013, but it is difficult to apply, the practice often taking place via subcontractors.

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Eric Thomas

Eric, originally from Nigeria, currently resides in Florida and covers a wide range of topics for The talking Democrat.