Guatemala's trash 'miners' risk lives to find gold

Associated Press
In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 6, 2011, Irma, 29, right, and Dora, 30, carry sacks of metal they collected after working all night in contaminated water at the bottom of one of the biggest trash dumps in the city, known as "The Mine," in  Guatemala City.  Hundreds of informal workers descend daily into the mounds of the landfill and the rushing waters that come from a storm tunnel and a sewer at the bottom of a gorge to search for scrap metal to sell. This activity known locally as "mining" is extremely dangerous due to mud slides and collapses, but earns many of them about 150 quetzals ($20 dollars) a day, nearly twice the minimum daily wage. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Despite the foul odors, the danger of unstable piles of garbage collapsing and the chance for heavy rain to suddenly raise the water level, dozens of people are busily at work searching for jewelry and other metal scraps knocked loose from the trash.

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