Background: The waste collectors have the seventh most dangerous job in the world. Because of inadequate understanding of
magnitude of the problem & poor financial resources, risks of waste collectors are still largely unmanaged in most of developing
countries like India.
Objectives: To study the prevalence of occupational related morbidities among the door-to-door solid waste collectors and
factors related to reported morbidities.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Surat Municipal Corporation. 300 door to door waste collectors were
selected randomly. The data was collected by semi-structured interview schedule analysed using SPSS window version 17.0
Results: 77.7 percent injuries, 71 percent skeletomuscular, 62.3 percent respiratory, 39.3 percent gastrointestinal, 36.3 percent eye
and 30 percent skin disorders were major morbidities reported.
Major risk factors identified in bivariate analysis were:
*Risky and unhygienic sorting of waste. *Alcohol consuming. *Temporary workers and workers working empty stomach.
Female waste handlers were having higher risk of gastrointestinal disorders.
Multiple logistic regressions indicate risk factors were:
Workers new to job of waste handling, untrained workers, manual handlers, risky and unhygienic sorting of waste, non-use of
protective equipments, part time job and workers collecting household waste three tons/day. The poor hygienic behaviours and
poor socio economic conditions, consuming alcohol and slum dwellers aggravate risk of morbidities. Female waste handlers were
having more risk of skeletomuscular and GIT disorders.
Conclusions: The door to door solid waste collectors are suffering from significant level of morbidities because of physical,
chemical and biological hazards; therefore they suffer from health effects probably due to their occupational exposures. Provision
of personal protection, training, supervision, engineering controls, monitoring of exposures, education, and other interventions
appears to be under-utilised in protecting waste handlers from exposure and health effects. Additional research is needed to
further characterise exposures and health effect of the waste handlers.
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