PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Changlair Aristide has made his living in a smouldering, hellish landscape, the stinking refuse of an impoverished land.
Like thousands of others, the father of nine survives by hunting for anything left of value in the Truitier landfill north of Cite Soleil, a notorious slum in Haiti's capital.
Dump trucks roar 24 hours a day, leaving 100,000 tons of waste each month across 200 acres. Dark plumes of smoke fill the air as refuse is burned into ash. Violence flares as pickers fight for the most valuable hauls.
Desperation and misery dull any sense of optimism.
“It's a hell on earth,” said Aristide, 36, who has been sorting through waste since 1994 and originally saw the work as a way to get rich in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.
About 60 per cent of Haiti's nearly 10.5 million people struggle to live on about US$2 a day or less, and a January report by the US Agency for International Development said about half the country is undernourished.
From his earnings at the dump, Aristide bought two pigs and built a house made of corrugated steel just beyond the landfill's edge, where he lives with his wife and three of his kids. Each day, he rummages through the waste for hours, often working into the night to fill a bag with materials that he sells nearby.