Saumya Roy (2017) is working on a book project documenting the lives of a community of ragpickers in Mumbai, which has the largest garbage mountain in the world; no composting has been done here for the last 117 years. Raging fires on the mountain over the last year and a court order has forced the Mumbai municipality to look at ways of closing this mountain. The book will be a narrative account of the lives of these rag pickers, the mountain that sustains them and the municipality and city that allowed it to grow.
Saumya has written for Outlook magazine, wsj.com, Forbes India magazine, Mint newspaper and Bloomberg news. She has a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has won several awards for her writing. She set up Vandana Foundation, a non profit, to support livelihoods of women micro entrepreneurs in Mumbai and rural India. This is how she first met the rag pickers from Mumbai’s garbage mountain. She has chronicled their quest to build a decent life for themselves over the last five years.
Through this book Saumya hopes to chronicle the afterlife of trash and the dark lives it sustains. There are similar garbage mountains in many large cities including Beirut, Manila, Sao Paolo, Delhi, Kolkata and Shanghai, apart from the waste that clogs our rivers, oceans, streets and farms. She hopes this book will provoke new thinking and discussion on the legacy of our consumption and encourage people to think about how they consume and how they can do so more consciously.