Episode 2

Image for Episode 2Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

This observational series continues to explore what life is really like in some of the densest neighbourhoods on the planet: the backstreets of India's megacities. A popular tactic for people here, so adept at operating in a crowded world, is turning the stuff others would call waste into an opportunity.

Johora started out as a rag-picker, but through building a bottle recycling business on a railway embankment, she has big ambitions for her family of seven kids. When the local gangsters increase their protection payment demands, she boldly takes out a big loan and attempts to push her illegal business to another level.

And it's not just small waste. Kanye uses a handheld blowtorch to cut up ships discarded by the rest of the world, helping satisfy India's thirst for steel. His dangerous but relatively well-paid job educates his three daughters and provides his ticket to a brighter future. But his hopes are in jeopardy when he is laid off.

Ashik buys up beef fat from the abattoir and proudly renders it down to make tallow. It looks disgusting, even before he is plagued by a maggot infestation. But this thrifty use of waste may well be destined for your soap or cosmetics.


Tom Beard
Series Producer
Tom Beard
Executive Producer
Andrew Palmer
Sacha Dhawan
Andy Wells
Andy Wells


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