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PHOTOBLOG: Mayapuri Junkyard Is Where Vehicles Go To Die... And Be Reborn

It’s Asia’s largest scrapyard.

04/04/2017 1:57 PM IST | Updated 05/04/2017 12:48 PM IST

Mayapuri Junkyard, located in West Delhi, is said to be Asia's largest vehicle scrap yard. It is where vehicles go to die... but also where they find new life. It is a junction where our government and small-scale industries work together to recycle, reuse and repurpose. Indeed, even though it's prima facie a collection of rubbish, it's a place that fights waste.

Abandoned, broken-down vehicles (from bicycles to trucks to airplanes) are mined for parts and scrap metal to be used for army vehicles, industries and other purposes—the place provides employment to as many as 50,000 workers and around 100-150 pieces of machinery/vehicles get dismantled every day

Old vehicles are brought to the sooty streets of Mayapuri from across the country...

The scrap hub was established in 1952 in Motiya Khan near Sadar Market, but relocated to Mayapuri in 1975. As it was fully surrounded by jungles, only 20 scrap traders out of 500 or so came to Mayapuri.

The jungles, of course, have long dwindled, and today over 4000 small-scale units are functioning effectively at this junkyard, which has an annual turnover of more than ₹6000 crore.

The parts to be re-sold are sent off to second-hand shops, and the leftovers are collected and disposed of by metal scrap dealers.

Ultimately, the environment benefits. Almost 40% of the world's steel production comes from scrap. CO2 emissions are reduced by 58% through the practice of ferrous scrap.

Tehreem Fatima
Mandeep Prajapati, a 17-year-old from Azamgarh, washes a spare part at Mayapuri.

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Hari Ram, 52 (left), and Ramesh Kumar, 50 (right), have worked at Mayapuri for more than three decades.

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Pawan Kumar, 32, hails from Rajasthan but has been working here for 16 years. He earns Rs 12,000 a month.

Tehreem Fatima
Ram Suhawan, 45, does loading and unloading of the spare parts of vehicles which are in working condition. He has been working here for 30 years and gets a wage of Rs 100-200 per day.

Tehreem Fatima
A worker dismantling an engine inside a scrap shop.

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Getting their hands dirty is a given.
Tehreem Fatima
Backbreaking labour.
Tehreem Fatima
Abdul Ghaffar, 55, takes a short break.
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Mayapuri in a new avatar—an idol of Lord Shiva lends colour to the grease-blackened environs.
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Parts that are still in working order are sent to second-hand shops.
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Vehicles travel to Mayapuri's muddy lanes to be dismantled.
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Recycling steel uses 75% less energy compared to generating steel from raw materials—enough to power 18 million homes.
Tehreem Fatima
Group of men work on dismantling a car.
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Almost 40% of the world's steel production is made from scrap.
Tehreem Fatima
Hammering it hard for a new life.
Tehreem Fatima
Old vehicles are brought to the sooty streets of Mayapuri from across the country—a truck can be pulled to pieces in under two hours while a car will take anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes.