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Dirty work: Pakistan sewer workers face stigma and danger

New report sheds light on the lives of neglected workers who risk death and injury every day

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Dirty work: Pakistan sewer workers face stigma and danger

Sewer workers in Pakistan are mostly Christian and risk death and injury on a daily basis. 

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Aslam Inayat has been opening clogged sewer lines for two decades. He narrowly escaped death after descending into a manhole earlier this year.

“We usually detect toxic gases by throwing a burning newspaper in the sewers. A sudden flame confirms danger. But sometimes the gases lay hidden as the flame fizzles out. The judgment comes with experience,” Inayat, 49, told ucanews.

“I was hesitant but the supervisors kept insisting.”

Inayat lowered himself by rope into the black sludge. Tightly griping his hammer and a bucket, he waded toward the cement seal before breaking it in a few strikes. Along with the gushing goo came poisonous gas.

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