Picked From ‘Waste’ For People To ‘Taste’? Street Vendors Pick & Resell Vegetables…

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Picked From ‘Waste’ For People To ‘Taste’? Street Vendors Pick & Resell Vegetables…

Picked From ‘Waste’ For People To ‘Taste’? Street Vendors Pick & Resell Vegetables near the almost Demolished Central Market. While the Deputy Commissioner directed Mangaluru City Corporation to vacate all the street vendors doing business near Central Market, but within two days many have reoccupied the space again, and bunch of these street vendors who sell the vegetables for Rs 10, pick most of the vegetables from the nearby waste spot, then they are washed and resold to the public. Seems like our officials, including the District Health Officer, have turned a blind eye to this unhygienic practice by these illegal street vendors.

Mangaluru: While you drive or walk along the street on the Market Road, you will be greeted by a few women and men, hailing from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, running their street vending business selling vegetables, which the consumers buy in a hurry, thinking it as good price, since any vegetable item you buy is ONLY RS 10? Okay, Rs 10 sounds really good when compared to the price that you pay at the regular vegetable shop. But do these buyers know where these vegetables come from, to sell them at such a dirt-cheap price? Do you want to know where most of these veggies come from? The answer is – FROM GARBAGE? Every single day, a few wholesale dealers near the Central Vegetable market discard huge quantities of vegetables, either which is damaged during transportation, or which is not fit for sale. Since earlier when the garbage truck of Antony Waste used to come early to pick up the waste, the veg dealers used to dump all the waste vegetables into the truck- but now since the trucks don’t make regular trips in time, the wholesale dealers have no other choice than to dump the stale veggies on the side of the road, adjacent to a cinema theatre and elsewhere And this is where these street vendors start to dig into the garbage early in the morning, and sort out the good vegetables from the bad ones, and resell by the side of the road in the later hours.


Yes, you can see these street vendors, some of them also work as waste pickers, who work without any job security, salary and dignity and are also exposed to adverse health effects like infections, respiratory diseases and tuberculosis. But while taking pity on these street vendors, the consumers also need to worry about their health issues from consuming these vegetables picked from the garbage. Yes, we know to earn their daily bread, these vendors sustain themselves by collecting, sorting waste and then trading it. But when it comes to Swachh Mangaluru, in doing so, they help clean up a significant proportion of the tonnes of waste generated in the City. While doing their sorting job, they are regularly exposed to cuts, infections, respiratory diseases and tuberculosis apart from poverty, humiliation, harassment, and sexual abuse on the streets.

These men and women leave their homes early in the morning with their waste carts. A few of them work where the municipal corporation deposits waste, some scour the roads and others go to specific neighbourhoods looking for things they can find, to resell, of which are vegetables too. These women work independently, and when Team Mangalorean spoke to one Tamilian lady she agreed that they had tried their hand at other things but came back to waste-picking because it paid better. Many times, their husbands and children go for picking/sorting of waste, while women do not go out for picking, but do sorting of waste at home.


But whatever be the case, we are talking about vegetables that are sold to the public from the rotten and stinking waste and put up for sale, which is nothing but a hazardous health issue. Imagine cockroaches, rats and other stray animals feeding on the waste, and thereafter these street vendors pick the leftover good vegetables from the waste and sell it to the public. Some of these rats might have survived from the rat poison, and are now feeding on this waste. One street vending woman said that she used to make good money by supplying these vegetables to a few paying Guest hostels in the City, and also to some small scale restaurants before the lockdown. But how about the safety issues, of the inmates at the hostel, and the customers dining at these restaurants.


Why has the District Administration, MCC, District Health Department kept quiet in this regard? Why is our MCC Health Officer not waking up to take action? Are they all waiting for citizens to get sick consuming these vegetables picked from the garbage, and also stale vegetables sold to them by the wholesale dealers for cheap. If you think Rs 10 is a very good bargain to buy each of these vegetables by the roadside, think further about the health consequences these vegetables may bring to you once they enter your body system. Only hope the concerned officials will look into this situation, and see that no vegetables are sold which are picked from the Waste.

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1 Comment

  1. Veggies if they are picked up and sold means they are not that bad or spoilt. No one will purchase rotten veggies. It means there is a lot of wastage. Food grown with so much of care to reach to the cities to be thrown is a shame. Plus veggies being sold at high rates really needs to be looked into.I have also seen many a times banana trucks dump perfectly good raw bananas and people do pick them up cook and eat and they are perfectly okay. There is something going wrong somewhere.

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