Discover the life of our “garbage Vala”

Small interview of Shyam, the man who helps us managing our wastes 

We wanted to present you men about whose we don’t know a lot; but whose have an important role in the Indian day-to-day life: the “Garbage Vala”. In North India, we have a “vala” (an indian surname indicating a person involved in some kind of activity) for everything: a water vala to deliver it, a dhobi vala for the laundry, a chai vala to serve tea. It is not the best job but you will discover that those men are really helping us for protecting our environment.

The garbage vala of Bed & Chai Guesthouse is Shyam, 45 years old.


Shyam collects our garbage every day and takes off valuable things; wastes are put in dump site.

Plastic, cupboard and glass are sold to bigger reseller. Our garbage vala is using last technology working with pompom.

Delhi government does not do much in the recycling process. A complete parallel system employs thousands of people. POM-POM is one of them; this company collects wastes thanks to an application. In one click, you can get someone at your doorstep to buy your valuable wastes.

As a typically day of work, he wakes up and begins to work at 6 am to finish at 4pm; he is going in all hotels and homes of our street (our street is big!). To move, Shyam is using a bicycle.

Shyam has 3 children: 2 sons and 1 daughter. He lives with his wife. He has to take care of a family of 5 people. For that, he gets a salary between 13,000 and 15,000 rupees per month, which is similar to a barmaid!

Knowing the lowest salary in Delhi is about 6000 rupees per month, our garbage vala has a quiet good salary. (It’s important to highlight that we talk about a garbage wala in a rich area of Delhi so he can expect a better salary than in other part of the city).

His job is not easy; the garbage vala has to touch and manage a lot of dirty products, he may encounter health problems and doesn’t have any protections, he works in bad conditions. He doesn’t have holidays, neither any days-off.

Shyam would like his children to have a better situation than him; his job is too difficult and he wants a better future for them.


This example of the garbage vala reveals a facet of India. Even if Delhi government does not do much to manage wastes; some creative company like POM-POM and the Garbage Vala take care of the environment and try to make a change.

Garbage vala: more than a small profession, it is a great help to develop sustainability and to encourage people to protect our planet.