Cricklewood dustman returns to Indonesia for second BBC programme

Wilbur Ramirez with Imam Shafri

Wilbur Ramirez with Imam Shafri - Credit: Archant

Wilbur Ramirez stars in Toughest Place To Be A Binman – The Return

Wilbur Ramirez in Indonesia

Wilbur Ramirez in Indonesia - Credit: Archant

A dustman from Cricklewood who appeared in an award-winning BBC programme will be back on the small screen on Sunday.

Wilbur Ramirez, who drives a dust truck around the streets of Hammersmith of Fulham, was featured on the ‘Toughest Place In The World To Be A...’when he visited Jakarta in Indonesia.

The 44-year-old took over the round of local dustman and street sweeper Imam Shafri working seven days a week in bare feet and without gloves.

He was so shocked by what he witnessed and experienced that he established The Wilbur Ramirez Charitable Trust to help the community.

A year on and Mr Ramirez will star in ‘Toughest Place To Be A Binman – The Return’ to show the impact he has made to improve the lives of the rubbish collectors and their families.

In the programme he sees that his efforts to challenge the authorities and fly tippers has made a difference.

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He said: “During my first visit, I couldn’t believe the size of the rubbish tip. The people living by it were lucky if it was collected once a week, now they come two or three times a day. Even fly tipping seems to be less.”

In the past, Mr Shafri and the other collectors had to do their rounds without the most basic of equipment but thanks to his employers Serco, Mr Ramirez was able to give them all boots, trousers, hi-vis shirts, brooms, shovels and first-aid kits.

The men were clearly delighted, but what got them even more elated, was when they were handed over 30 pairs of trainers.

“I must admit, I’m a bit of a trainer addict, so I thought they more use to the boys out there. The look on the faces, when I handed them out was priceless,” Mr Ramirez said.

Mr Ramirez is hoping to create a legacy over there and realises this is only a start. He spoke at a meeting of community leaders and the families to see what would really improve their lives.

He said: “You cannot impose your will on them.

“What we in the West think is important, is not necessarily the same over there. We have to listen... and then try and act.”

Toughest Place To Be A Binman – The Return will be on BBC2 on Sunday at 9pm