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Investigating the Levels of Depression and Anxiety Among Rag-pickers Working in Challenging Environmental Conditions from Multiple Districts in Uttar Pradesh, India

Parth Pratim Pandey and Usha Rani


DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10817994


Rag-pickers play a crucial role in global waste management by salvaging recyclable materials from waste. Therefore, ensuring their occupational and environmental hygiene is vital not only for their well-being but also to mitigate potential environmental risks associated with waste handling. The present study intends to gauge and compare the levels of depression (using the PHQ-9 scale) and anxiety (using the GAD-7 scale) among rag-picking communities in four districts of Uttar Pradesh: Ghaziabad, Meerut, Baghpat and Hapur. A total of 797 participants were scanned: 544 rag-pickers and 253 non-rag-pickers. Statistical analysis revealed that the mean depression and anxiety levels of rag-pickers in both, Ghaziabad and Meerut, were significantly higher than that in the rag-picking communities from Baghpat and Hapur. Baghpat rag-pickers were significantly more depressed than those in Hapur, but the anxiety levels showed no significant difference. Ghaziabad’s and Meerut’s rag-pickers did not show any significant difference in the depression and anxiety levels. We further compared the above mood disorder scales between the rag-picking population and the non-rag-picking population (control population living in the same community) in each of the four districts separately. While Ghaziabad rag-pickers were found with significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety than the non-rag-picking population living there, rag-pickers in Baghpat and Hapur were found to suffer significantly lower levels of depression than the non-rag-picking population. We conclude with possible reasons for the above mentioned findings. Our study findings can inform the development of targeted policies and interventions aimed at improving the mental health of rag-pickers.


Delhi School of Public Health, Institution of Eminence (IoE), University of Delhi, Delhi- 110007, India.



Pandey PP and Rani U (2024) Investigating the Levels of Depression and Anxiety Among Rag-pickers Working in Challenging Environmental Conditions from Multiple Districts in Uttar Pradesh, India. Environ Sci Arch 3(1): 95-102.


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