Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Greenfire brings ways to clean the pullotants out of these landfills for the benefit of these acavengers. Thier nomadic lives have found a continuation of the poor lifestyle. Greenfire can turn the poverty into prosparity.  http://greenfirefunding.com/ 

Sanitation workers and scavengers pick their way through the refuse of the landfill in the Payatas district of Quezon City, Metro Manila. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

MANILA — What is it like living at the foot of a mountain of garbage?

The Payatas district in Quezon City, Metro Manila, has been called the city's "second Smokey Mountain" — a huge mound of refuse from which many scavengers scrape out a meager income.

Payatas is about a 40-minute drive from central Manila. There, on a spring day, a long column of garbage-laden trucks heads for the dump, billowing up dust. A foul smell is on the breeze.

A nearby hill gives a bird's-eye view of the dump. With a long camera lens one can get a clear look at the top of the massive garbage heap. As the trucks unload, sanitation workers and scavengers scramble.

The scavengers eke out a living collecting and selling metal and plastic scrap to dealers. In the Payatas district, they earn between 100 pesos and 300 pesos ($2 to $6) a day. It is less than the minimum wage, but better than nothing.

Smokey Mountain was the nickname of a large, smoldering landfill located in Manila's Tondo district. After it was shut down in 1995, many of the scavengers who lived there moved to Payatas. The community that arose became known as the second Smokey Mountain, though on this day there was no smoke visible.

Order amid chaos

The Quezon municipal government manages the Payatas landfill. There is a checkpoint at the entrance, through which only registered waste disposal workers and scavengers are allowed to enter.

The scavengers are divided into two groups of 400-500 people each, with the first group allowed to enter in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The dump is supposed to be off limits to children 15 years old or younger.

The entry restrictions were introduced in response to a landslide at the dump in 2000 that left about 300 people dead or missing.

 

 

But the landfill is expected to reach its capacity in a year or two. It is anyone's guess what will become of the community then.

These days, recycling garbage is not the only business in the area. Some people are making handicrafts such as stuffed animals with the help of a nonprofit organization, for example.

The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it will take time for the fruits of development to spread to impoverished areas like Payatas. People living at the foot of the garbage mountain will no doubt keep getting by as best they can, hoping for something better.

Source: Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Greenfire brings ways to clean the pullotants out of these landfills for the benefit of these acavengers. Thier nomadic lives have found a continuation of the poor lifestyle. Greenfire can turn the poverty into prosparity.  http://greenfirefunding.com/ 

Sanitation workers and scavengers pick their way through the refuse of the landfill in the Payatas district of Quezon City, Metro Manila. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

MANILA — What is it like living at the foot of a mountain of garbage?

The Payatas district in Quezon City, Metro Manila, has been called the city's "second Smokey Mountain" — a huge mound of refuse from which many scavengers scrape out a meager income.

Payatas is about a 40-minute drive from central Manila. There, on a spring day, a long column of garbage-laden trucks heads for the dump, billowing up dust. A foul smell is on the breeze.

A nearby hill gives a bird's-eye view of the dump. With a long camera lens one can get a clear look at the top of the massive garbage heap. As the trucks unload, sanitation workers and scavengers scramble.

The scavengers eke out a living collecting and selling metal and plastic scrap to dealers. In the Payatas district, they earn between 100 pesos and 300 pesos ($2 to $6) a day. It is less than the minimum wage, but better than nothing.

Smokey Mountain was the nickname of a large, smoldering landfill located in Manila's Tondo district. After it was shut down in 1995, many of the scavengers who lived there moved to Payatas. The community that arose became known as the second Smokey Mountain, though on this day there was no smoke visible.

Order amid chaos

The Quezon municipal government manages the Payatas landfill. There is a checkpoint at the entrance, through which only registered waste disposal workers and scavengers are allowed to enter.

The scavengers are divided into two groups of 400-500 people each, with the first group allowed to enter in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The dump is supposed to be off limits to children 15 years old or younger.

The entry restrictions were introduced in response to a landslide at the dump in 2000 that left about 300 people dead or missing.

 

 

But the landfill is expected to reach its capacity in a year or two. It is anyone's guess what will become of the community then.

These days, recycling garbage is not the only business in the area. Some people are making handicrafts such as stuffed animals with the help of a nonprofit organization, for example.

The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it will take time for the fruits of development to spread to impoverished areas like Payatas. People living at the foot of the garbage mountain will no doubt keep getting by as best they can, hoping for something better.

Source: Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Children Survive Scavenging Waste

 

 

Greenfire would like to share this tale about Small Steps Project. The life of Children of the Landfill is unimmagiably hard. It is good to see that the awareness of this harsh reality is expanding. 

 

By Amy Hanson from Small Steps Project

Last week a devastating landslide of rubbish on Koshe landfill site in Addis Ababa killed over 100 people. Unfortunately this is not the first and nor will it be the last. Thousands of children currently live on landfill sites and rubbish dumps, surviving from scavenging all over the world. This problem, resulting from mass production and consumption, continues to worsen, as the disposal of waste is not properly addressed. UK charity Small Steps Project aim to alleviate some of the humanitarian consequences by distributing emergency aid and providing sustainable solutions to child scavengers, helping them take small steps into a more healthy, dignified and productive life.

We assumed that this was usually a problem found in developing countries without the funds or skills to provide adequate solutions. That was until we started working within the EU, in Romania, which lacks neither of these, but where children still live and work on dumps.

Over the last four years, since we were called in by the UNDP to support the 0-7 year olds living in squalid conditions, on Pata Rat dump in Cluj, Romania, we have seen millions of euros pumped into the problem, but very little finds it’s way to the solution.

Waste management in Romania is in crisis, it is currently rated the worst for recycling in the EU. They have tried, to solve their waste problem through recycling centres, with EU funds, but despite the enormous amount of money spent, they have so far failed to create effective recycling centres, or employment for the parents or services for the children – including access to water, hygiene, nutrition and education.

The recycling centres have been built, but some stand empty and dysfunctional, as huge mountains of rubbish are dumped illegally, not in designated landfill sites.

The problem with the waste in Romania is not just that they can’t deal with processing it, but they neither can they deal with the people who live on it.

The irony is that the municipality who are given the funds with which to create solutions are the very people who created the problems- they are responsible for outsourcing to companies who spent millions on building facilities which were ineffective, and also for the forced evictions of many of the Roma community which lives on the dump site, and indeed placing them there.

In all the nine years that we have worked on dumpsites across the world, we have never seen so much plastic waste in an EU country as we see in Romania. They are so far behind in terms of waste education that no amount of money seems to help them.

We work in partnership with the local government municipality, which means that we have to collaborate with the people who caused the problems for the people we are trying to help.

We have found it difficult to tell whether the Romanian government wants to find solutions to these problems or whether they simply want to receive the funds for these problems.

When we first arrived on the dump, the municipality had provided a mobile unit, a safe place for the children of the dump to clean, eat, play and learn. However the shiny white warm space remained empty as the children, covered in mud played outside. The municipality had made a token gesture towards a solution, but with no one to run the centre it remained unused.

We stepped in to provide human resources and materials to make the unit functional for the children. Against all the odds, and with the water being regularly cut off, over the last 3 years we have managed to support over 100 beneficiaries, including not just the children but also mothers and babies. We have integrated all the 3-7 year olds into nursery off the dumpsite. And in the mobile unit we provide medical care, a mother& baby group, a toddler program and support for the 7+-year-old children.

But sadly, the situation has recently deteriorated, because the children have now had no water for over 6 months. In the EU with millions of euros of funding going to the government. It is pretty shocking that we encounter the same problems that face us in Asia.

We hope that having lent our expertise to Romania, and integrated the children into the school system, they will continue to support them and take responsibility for their futures. Spending funds on solutions rather than identifying obvious problems: the children require education, nutrition and hygiene. Similarly maybe a country with a proven track record of successful recycling, such as Sweden, might be able to lend their expertise to the Romanian waste crisis.

As it stands, to reach the EU target of 65% recycling by 2030 is looking very unlikely, despite EU financial support still flooding in, in what currently looks like a futile attempt to get Romania inline with the rest of Europe.

Small Steps Project also runs projects for child scavengers in Cambodia and Laos.

For more information on their current work see this 1 min short  and or visit website click here

Source: The children surviving by scavenging on rubbish tips…in Europe – The London Economic

Burning Illegal Dumps health risk

Land Department and MPKj officers visiting the former forest reserve of Bukit Enggang in Bandar Sungai Long. The site is being used to illegally dump rubbish and carry out open burning activities. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

 

Land Department and MPKj officers visiting the former forest reserve of Bukit Enggang in Bandar Sungai Long. The site is being used to illegally dump rubbish and carry out open burning activities. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

ILLEGAL rubbish dumping and open burning at the former forest reserve of Bukit Enggang in Bandar Sungai Long are posing serious health problems for residents.

Over the past 10 years, there have been about 10 illegal rubbish dumps in Bukit Enggang. The residents claimed this had made them fall sick and their children were coughing badly after inhaling smoke from the open burning.

The illegal dumping problem has not been resolved despite residents’ many complaints and actions by the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj).

Sungai Long resident Yong Yew Hong, 53, who lived there for more than three years, said he jogged in Bukit Enggang every day.

“At midnight every day a few rubbish and sand trucks filled with rubbish enter Bukit Enggang and come out empty,” said Yong when visiting the rubbish dump at Bukit Enggang.

“There are about 10 rubbish dumps in the housing areas near Bukit Enggang where residents suffer from the foul smell and smoke from the burning of rubbish.

“They start burning the rubbish in the evening every day. This causes the air in the housing area to be hazy.

Another Sungai Long resident Lee Hui Leng, 34, said they were forced to close their windows and doors to keep the smoke out.

“When my husband and I drove past the area one night, we noticed the people burning the rubbish with kerosene,” said Lee.

Jogger Benny Ong, 74, said he had been exercising and jogging at Bukit Enggang for about 20 years.

“Now Bukit Enggang is famous for illegal dumping. The foul smell and smoke from the rubbish dumps have kept joggers away.

“There are food waste, broken furniture, development waste and many more at the rubbish dumps,” said Ong.

Kajang Municipal councillor Lai Wai Chong said MPKj received 52 complaints from the residents in February and confiscated 12 vehicles.

“Each offender was fined RM2,000 and their vehicles confiscated for a month.

“We will return the vehicles to the offenders only after they pay up the fine,” he said, adding that the council would keep a 24-hour watch over the area to catch the culprits red-handed.

Source: Open burning at illegal rubbish dumps a health risk for Bukit Enggang folk – Community | The Star Online

Diner In The Landfill Lets Patrons Pay for Lunch With Plastic Waste – Video

INDONESIA: The Methane Gas Canteen is an eatery like no other – it’s situated right in the middle of the Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java, surrounded by mounds of putrefying waste, household rubbish, broken glass and plastic.

Every day, while men, women and children dig through mountains of trash collecting plastic and glass bottles to sell, husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi are busy cooking.

Their customers? Cash-strapped scavengers who have the option to pay for their meals with plastic waste instead of money – part of the community’s novel solution to recycle the non-degradable plastic and reduce waste in the landfill.

Mr Sarimin, 56, weighs the amount of plastic each customer brings to the diner and calculates how much it is worth. This value is then deducted from the cost of the meal, or any surplus value refunded to the customer.

“I think we recycle 1 tonne of plastic waste a day, which is a lot. This way, the plastic waste doesn’t pile up, drift down the river and cause flooding.

“This doesn’t only benefit the scavengers, it benefits everyone,” said Mr Sarimin.

WATCH: How this works (2:08)

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Diner in the landfill lets patrons pay for lunch with plastic waste – Channel NewsAsia

Children Living in Landfill

Last week dozens of people were killed and at least 49 homes destroyed after a mountain of rubbish collapsed at Ethiopia’s Koshe landfill site. Authorities aren’t yet sure what caused the deadly landslide – some blame the biogas plant being built nearby – but whatever the reason, it’s just another risk faced every day by so-called dump scavengers.

This is a status from one day ago. – M
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – "The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia's capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said Wednesday, as the country began three days of mourning for victims who were mostly women and children." By ELIAS MESERET Associated Press

Some 15 million people live and work within sprawling municipal rubbish tips around the globe, combing through trash every day for items of the slightest value to sell for a pittance. Their communities mirror those found anywhere else in the world – neighbours become friends, and there are shops and schools and places to go to unwind after a hard day’s work – but the difference is the inescapable, oppressive backdrop of filth, danger and disease.

Families – sometimes several at a time – live in shanties made from found wood and sheets of corrugated metal and plastic, with bricks and tyres placed carefully on roofs to stop them blowing away. Surrounding these homes, stretching for as far as the eye can see and sometimes two or three storeys high, are piles and piles of medical and electronic waste, used nappies and sanitary items, general household rubbish and broken glass, not to mention dead animals and human faeces.

Under the burning sun the smell of these dumps is sickening, exacerbated by dark plumes of thick smoke billowing from piles of trash that have spontaneously combusted because of unstoppable rising methane gases. It is hell on earth, but trapped in an inescapable cycle of poverty, these people have no choice but to call it home. 

Jane Walker has been working with a trash-picking community in the Philippines for more than 20 years. She happened upon the capital’s Tondo dump while on holiday, and now runs the Purple Community Fund, a charity dedicated to helping those on the fringes of society, including the thousands of people living among Manilla’s most prolific garbage site.

 

landfill-landslide.jpg

 

 

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa (Getty)

 

“The average life expectancy for someone born and raised in these environments is just 35 years old,” she says. “We were on a dumpsite with 15,000 people and from them we recorded just under 100 people who had made it to 60. Pneumonia and tuberculosis is rife.”

Indeed, pneumonia – commonly spread through a lack of hygiene – is the number one killer of children under five, accounting for more than 1,000 deaths a day worldwide according to UN statistics. A single gram of faeces can contain ten million viruses, and so as Jane notes, the dump community’s favoured method of human waste disposal, the ‘wrap and throw’, means children are exposed to life-threatening disease even before they’ve started working on the site.

Amish Das has lived inside the Boragaon landfill site in Guwahati, India, for all of his 26 years, rising early every day to scour the site to earn just enough to feed his family breakfast – a meal which, like every other, is never guaranteed. He lives with his three children, his wife and the family of his wife’s sister (her husband and two children) in a one-room shanty in the centre of the dump. He lost his youngest daughter to illness when she was two years old. “She was so sick and there was nothing I could do,” he says. “Everywhere is dirty. I wish she hadn’t died but sometimes I am thankful she won’t have to know this life.”

Women, of course, are particularly vulnerable in these environments. “When a girl is born poor her life chances are severely reduced,” says Girish Menon, CEO of charity ActionAid. “Young women have fewer rights, less access to education, sexual health services, networks, decision making, safety and control over their bodies. They are stuck – trapped in a cycle of poverty, violence and inequality.” It is no surprise, then, that of the few children that are able to go to school (many are needed to work alongside their families), most are boys, although charities such as ActionAid are working to address this. Local women’s networks, such as the one in the Mwakirunge dumpsite just outside Mombasa, Kenya, provides education and protection facilities for girls and women who work at the dump.

Margaret wants to be a teacher when she leaves school, but even with an education under her belt it’s certain that she’ll struggle to escape from the dumpsite. “There’s a huge stigma surrounding people from these communities,” says Jane. “I’ve seen the most immaculately-turned out people from the dumpsite, wearing clean clothes and looking smart, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Waste pickers don’t have access to hot water, or even running water, so there is always a smell, which makes it difficult for children to go to school or to then get jobs. And if they do get jobs – where they could earn up to 10 times as much as they do as a waste picker – it’s still very difficult for them to make a break from the dump.”

scavangers.jpg

 

A young scavenger boy grabs plastic between tons of trash in the Anlong Pi landfill on June 11, 2014 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Dozens of children scavenge every day in the Anlong Pi landfill, which is situated only few kilometres away from the world famous Angkor temples, visited by more than 3 million tourists every year. (Getty)

 

 

In 2013, researchers from various non-profit organisations including the International Solid Waste Association and the University of Leeds came together to create the first Waste Atlas, an interactive map that visualises the issue and impact of global waste. Their findings were shocking. The 50 biggest active dumpsites in the world affect the daily lives of 64 million people, a figure almost equal to the population of France, and the average dumpsite covers an area equal to around 29 international football fields. Nearly 40% of the world’s trash ends up in these sites.

These figures are at odds with the fact that environmental concerns are increasingly under the global spotlight, but with the value of the global waste management market projected to reach $562bn by 2020, it’s not hard to see the catalyst for the issue. While waste management legislation is largely tight in the western world, it’s less of a priority in developing nations and as Jane says, there’s money to be made.

“Waste pickers will make around just £2.50 a day selling the items they find to ‘agents’ and scrap dealers who then sell it on,” she explains. “It’s these middlemen who often earn large profits.” And it’s often these middlemen who are embroiled in levels of corruption that make the systemic poverty of waste pickers near-impossible to untangle.

“I can only comment on the site that I worked at,” Jane says, “but at one point we tried to sell the materials directly to recycling factories. Eliminating the middlemen would mean more money for the waste pickers. But not long after we started trying to do this I got a visit from these agents and they made it clear – by showing me a gun on the dashboard of their car – that selling to them first was the only acceptable way of doing things.”

There’s ample anecdotal evidence of these waste hierarchies being overseen by notorious crime lords – “Gang warfare was pretty normal at our site. It wasn’t unusual to see a dead body on the ground” – but local governments have repeatedly turned a blind eye to the issue. “At one point they were going to start importing Japanese waste to our site,” says Jane. “The area produced more than enough of its own waste, so why would they do that if not for monetary gain?” 

landfill-landslide-1.jpg

 

A young student waits for classes to begin at a free school in one of the poorest neighbourhoods which surrounds Metro Manila's largest landfill in Payatas, Philippines (Getty)

 

 

Scavengers are undoubtedly trapped firmly at the bottom of the waste pyramid, and as such many would argue that it’s no surprise the Ethiopian community scoffed with indignation when – following the tragedy at the Koshe site – Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma made such a vague promise: “In the long run, we will conduct a resettling programme to relocate people who live in and around the landfill.”

Nonetheless, in the face of almost immeasurable adversity, the people of these communities are, says Jane, happy and principled. “They choose waste picking as the most honourable way of earning a living, as opposed to begging, thieving or turning to the sex industry. They’re not bound by material possessions and their community spirit is almost unbreakable – if the government comes in to relocate them their main source of concern is being broken up as a group.

“It’s an awful thing to say ‘if you don’t know any better’ because that implies ignorance. Most of these people do know better and know there’s a better life to be had. They really are without hope because without external help or meaningful government intervention their lives aren’t going to change, but still they get up every day and exist in the most horrendous conditions. I have the greatest of respect for them.”

Source: Living in Landfill | The Independent

How Many Plastic Bags Are Used a Year | How Many Are There

Yet an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100 billion are plastic shopping bags, which cost retailers about $4 billion annually.

Plastic Bag Facts

  • Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
  • Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
  • An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
  • Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
  • Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
  • Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
  • Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
  • Greenpeace says that at least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from getting entangled in or ingesting marine debris. Nearly 90% of that debris is plastic.
  • Americans consume more than 10 billion paper bags per year. Approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for paper bag production.
  • Most of the pulp used for paper shopping bags is virgin pulp, as it is considered stronger.
  • Paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well

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Source: How Many Plastic Bags Are Used a Year | How Many Are There

Turning Ocean Garbage Into Gold | Science | Smithsonian

Ocean Legacy has a task not even Sisyphean would envy: picking up, sorting and recycling the vast amount of plastic that ends up on our shores.

This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com.

 

On a sunny afternoon in September, a barge roughly the size of a dump truck pulls into Delta, British Columbia, piled high with marine debris. Foam, plastic bottles, frayed rope—all of it hand-picked by dozens of volunteers from the western shores of Vancouver Island and stashed inside 200 giant white bags. “Too bad that ain’t gold,” a bystander remarks from the dock. “You just wait,” replies Chloé Dubois, standing on deck, “one day it will be.”

Dubois, the executive director of Ocean Legacy, one of a handful of organizations that took part in what was dubbed the largest marine debris cleanup in Canada over the summer of 2016, is startlingly passionate about plastic—something people throw away every single day. The month before the barge’s arrival, I joined Ocean Legacy’s cleanup of Mquqwin/Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park and saw Dubois work 12-hour days sorting foam, dragging giant necklaces of buoys across the scorching sand, and moving crinkly sacks so full of water bottles they dwarfed her meter-and-a-half height. She cleans with full knowledge that the beaches will be covered in plastic again in a few weeks’ time.

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