Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Age of Plunder & Dispossession

When future historians give a name to our historic epoch they will give it the inglorious title, the Age of Plunder & Dispossession. It is the duty of our generations to make certain it’s a short epoch with a rough demise & ending up in the overfilled landfill of historic waste.

Speaking of waste, this is the Chittagong garbage pit in Bangladesh. Chittagong isn’t Podunkville, Bangladesh. It’s the second largest & fastest growing city in the country with a population of over 6 million people. It’s a commercial, industrial, & maritime center for textiles, steel, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, chemical plants, fertilizer, cement, the automotive industry. The largest corporations in the country, the biggest corporations in the world, & the richest families of Bangladesh live in this city. There are banks galore.

But in the Age of Plunder, waste management is a low priority. The mountains of stinking garbage outside every urban center document at once the waste, the neglect of infrastructure, & the growing criminal disparity between rich & working poor. Children, elderly, migrants, & disabled are now forced to survive picking for recyclables through the stinking debris of hazardous waste including fecal matter, toxic chemicals, rotten food. Health hazards, especially respiratory illness, are part of the work.

This beautiful young girl deserves the best society can provide--not a life picking through other people’s waste. We need to work to make sure she reaches old age but an old age without the shackles of dispossession.

(Photo by David Brunetti)

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