Top 5 hardest professions, discovered by RTD reporters
Here's our selection of some of the most gruesome and difficult jobs that include extreme physical labor, psychological damage and exposure to toxic materials.
Body collectors in Ebola-stricken Liberia
Body collectors in Liberia performed the very hard, dangerous, but necessary job of removing and cremating the bodies of those who died during the Ebola crisis. Each day, these health workers were brought into contact with the grief-stricken relatives of those who died, and had to contend with an increased risk of being infected by the disease.
Thanks to their selflessness and bravery, many lives were saved. But, despite their important contribution to limiting Ebola's spread, those who would volunteer for such working conditions are few and far between.
Nonferrous metal collector
Nonferrous metal collectors at the infamous e-waste dumping ground in Agbogbloshie, Ghana, dismantle old electronic appliances and access their metal parts by burning the plastic which surrounds them. This job poses great health risks not only because of the dirty and polluted working environment, but also because burning plastic emits highly toxic fumes.
Exposure to the chemicals released can have a delayed, long-term effect on a person's health and lead to an early death. Many workers here are abandoned children with no education, no home and no one to take care of them. For them, working on the dump is the only way to survive.
Ship Scrapper in Bangladesh
Workers in Bangladesh's shipbreaking yards have no health and safety provisions or proper training. As a result, they are constantly at risk of serious injury and even death. Fatalities occur frequently and victims’ families are unlikely to receive compensation of any kind.
Yet, people continue to work in these appalling conditions as they have no other means of earning an income. Because the local and national governments are heavily involved in the business, the workers have little chance of improving their conditions.
Cotton Farmer in India
This job is not terrible per se, but because of the struggles that Indian farmers are faced with due to the proliferation of GMO cotton seeds, in recent times the work of a cotton farmer has become one of the worst in India. Of late, many farmers have even chosen to commit suicide in order to escape the desperate situation they found themselves in. After GMO cotton seeds replaced natural ones, farmers have accumulated large debts which they’re unable to pay off.
The profitability of the modified crops has turned out to be greatly exaggerated, but returning to their regular crops is not an option as they've been completely replaced. Farmers are also prohibited from collecting and planting seeds - a practice they relied on for centuries. Instead, they have to buy new seeds each time, as they are patented. Add to this the expense of pesticides, and a vicious cycle is created from which many see no escape.
Israeli messenger service officer
In Israel, where serving in the army is compulsory, there is a special military unit whose sole task is to inform relatives when a soldier is killed in action. They're also called 'Angels of Death'. Meet some of the officers who knock on doors to deliver the most devastating news any parent can hear.