By Baha Abu Hasnah
AMMAN — The Ministry of Social Development is conducting a nationwide study into the issue of garbage scavenging, Spokesperson Fawwaz Ratrout said on Wednesday.

The ministry has directed its governorate departments to study the social cases of trash pickers and is awaiting the results, Ratrout told The Jordan Times, adding that two cases had been investigated in Irbid so far.

The ministry does not expect to find many cases of garbage scavengers, he said, adding that the majority were likely to be found in Amman and Irbid, 80km north of the capital.

Some trash pickers are beggars who hope to attract sympathy by scavenging from garbage containers in crowded areas, according to Ratrout, who added that most were not in genuine need.

Others are “traders”, the ministry official said, explaining that they collect items from waste containers to resell them, often working in the wealthier areas of Amman and Irbid where more valuable items can be found among the rubbish.

Garbage pickers are known to authorities and some have been arrested more than once, he said, insisting that despite their appearances, they are not in need.