Slum. It’s a loaded word, one that conjures a raft of negative imagery. But there’s one characteristic that’s not likely to come to mind: industry.
That’s where Dharavi, Mumbai’s most populated slum, might surprise you.
Recycling — or perhaps it should be called extreme recycling — is one of Dharavi’s biggest industries. Akshay, our guide from Reality Tours & Travel, an organization invested in the community, explained the process: “Every type of plastic, aluminum and metal is collected from all over the city and brought to Dharavi. Then it is sorted for quality, crushed down or melted, cleaned and resold. Nothing is wasted. Absolutely nothing.”
While industry is growing in Dharavi, space is scarce. So rooftops become makeshift storage areas for many of these raw recyclables before they are broken down. Open up the panorama below to get a feel for what it’s like to stand on a rooftop of a recycling business in the middle of Dharavi and appreciate Mumbai’s skyline in the distance.
What you find on the streets below might surprise you, too. But that, my friends, is for another post.