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Carnaval crowds gone, trash-pickers look for anything of value

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An unidentified trash picker looks for anything of value at the beach. Photo: Punto Medio

Progreso, Yucatán — Thousands of Carnaval revelers are gone, and in their place are trash-pickers, criss-crossing the sand to see what’s left behind.

Patrolling heavily trafficked areas, they often live, literally, off garbage and anything else they find on the ground, writes Punto Medio.

Don Tomás, who has been a pepenador for 12 years, said he prefers to work before dawn. He begins his routine at 1 in the morning and ends at around 6 or 7. In the light of day, too many people annoy or distract him, he said.

There are hazards. Picking through garbage can put one in contact with living or dead animals, exposing pickers to diseases.

But on a good day, Marco Antonio said he has found up to 5,000 pesos, gold jewelry and cell phones.

The pickers can exchange some trash for cash at transfer centers.

Source: Punto Medio

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