Filipinos Tackle Plastic Pollution At Manila's Bay

Life Amid the Garbage

In the Philippines, the world's growing plastic waste problem takes its toll.

Eight million tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year, and some experts believe that in the next 30 years, there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish by weight. The consequences of this horrifying state of affairs are overwhelmingly shouldered by the world’s poorest areas, like those who live in the Philippines where communities are literally built around landscapes of plastic garbage.

Garbage Playground Jes Aznar/Getty Images Garbage Playground

After China and Indonesia, the Philippines is ranked the world’s third worst plastic polluter of the ocean. Environmental groups say that western corporations carry much of the blame — they sell products packaged in single-use plastic to cash in on the country’s growing demand for cheap consumer goods, while the countries' waste management infrastructure and environmental awareness have yet to catch up. Pictured: In this photograph from April 14, 2018, children from a poor village near Manila literally grow up on trash piles.

A Sad Tale of Happy Land Jes Aznar/Getty Images A Sad Tale of Happy Land

In Happy Land, a slum composed of several large-scale garbage dumps outside of Manila, many residents rely on sorting out plastic or scavenging trash as their only means of making a living. Despite recent recycling efforts in some first-world countries, humans use a trillion plastic bags every year; made from oil, the material takes more than 400 years to degrade. Over 90 percent of the plastic isn’t recycled.

Profiting From Trash Jes Aznar/Getty Images Profiting From Trash

Workers collect plastic bottles in a village outside Manila, April 18, 2018.

A Global Problem Jes Aznar/Getty Images A Global Problem

The Philippines contributes 1.88 million tons of “mismanaged plastic waste” into the global waters each year. Here, a plane descends over a landfill on April 16, 2018 in Manila.

New Landscape Jes Aznar/Getty Images New Landscape

Plastic litter fill the space in a mangrove forest on April 18, 2018 in Manila.

Dark Future Jes Aznar/Getty Images Dark Future

A fisherman at a beach filled with plastic waste on April 18, 2018 in Manila. Some of the small plastic debris in the ocean is consumed by marine animals which could eventually end up on dinner tables, while large pieces can travel to the coastlines of other countries.