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The Ultimate Crappy Job? Bangladeshis Pan Gold in Sewers

While we all might get "a case of the Mondays," the story of the job these Bangladeshis do is so intense, it makes most job complaints pale in comparison. A new market has opened in the sewers of Dhaka, Bangladesh and for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit, they’re literally finding gold. The catch? You have to pan it from human waste in an open sewer. That’s right, people are now digging through sewage in an effort to make money.

With gold reaching a high of $1,000 an ounce, many who endeavor to such extremes find it rewarding. One such “miner” was quite matter of fact about his work: “I used to think that this work was really nasty, but I’m used to it now, it’s just my job and it brings me money.” And it does. The sewer which runs alongside nearly 350 gold shops into which gold specks and occasionally the odd piece of jewelry fall. These shops belong to a centuries-old bazaar run that employs nearly 20,000 people. When the shops are swept clean gold and other bits of precious metals are swept into the drain along with urine, feces, and any other garbage you can imagine.

To see how much these workers make,


Sometimes a team of three can find as much as $50 a day in gold. On average it is estimated that someone in this line of work will make about $12 a day, but that may soon change as the price of gold begins to rise and fewer customers visit this historic gold market. It's estimated that nearly two-thirds of all the workers in this market will be let go by the end of the year which, in turn, means that the sewer miners will be up the proverbial creek when it comes to their livelihood.


Join The Conversation
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow - i guess when you need money in a place that's strugging so much financially you'll go to any lenght. i don't know if i would do the same if i were in their situation - that's a hard one. i wonder who first discovered that you can find gold there though -
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
Nice comments above..I only wish everyone understood how in an increasingly small world, and an increasingly global economy that there is no way to remove ourselves completely from the unpleasant things happening all around us. All it takes, for instance, is a little research into how Coca-Cola does business in third-world countries robs communities of their drinking water supply.. Is it nice to have to read these things? No. It's sad, and it can make a person feel so helpless. And I am not advocating for a second that people suck all the fun out of their lives because someone else's is bad... ..but what I do say is we must always give pause for thought about how the things we enjoy may have cost someone else a great deal more than we realised. That we must not assume we are an island unto ourselves on this Earth, and that those people in the mud - like us - are human beings, doing the best they can to get by, only with far less beneficial resources and options open to them.
sushibananas sushibananas 8 years
Hopefully, reading stories like this gives all of us a bit more compassion and understanding. The living conditions in so many other countries are so much worse, so unimaginable compared to how we live here. We are very lucky, indeed.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
And in Haiti they're eating dirt pancakes. Puts a lot of things into perspective when you read these stories.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
think about this: in the phillipines people LIVE in garbage dumps. we have it so good here. seriously.
stephley stephley 8 years
This is so awful - between this and the child miner stories, jewelry doesn't seem so desirable any more.
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