Scavenger Hunters: Kosovo’s Exploited Scrap Collectors

Leonida Molliqaj Gjilan, Kosovo Polje, Pristina

Scrap for recycling is Kosovo’s number one export. It is a 40-million-euro industry built on the backs of exploited minorities and children.

A boy collects plastic in Fushe Kosova/Kosovo Polje. Photo by Arben Llapashtica

Twelve-year-old Resmije is too short to reach into the skip, so she climbs over the side and jumps right in.

Tearing open bags of household waste and rotting food, she plucks out anything of value: plastic bottles, soft drink cans, electric cables. It all goes into a wooden cart pushed by her uncle.

The two of them have been at it since dawn, picking over other people’s garbage on the streets of Fushe Kosova/Kosovo Polje, a town just south of Pristina known as the centre of Kosovo’s recycling industry.

Read more at Balkan Insight