Garbage

Makeshift homes made from recycled materials provide shelter to over 2,000 familiesMakeshift homes made from recycled materials provide shelter to over 2,000 families | S01401 | buy

 

Location: Bantar Gebang, Indonesia
Date: August 2011
Photographer: Javad Tizmaghz

Bantar Gebang is the biggest garbage landfill in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populated country. The smell of garbage reaches kilometres far from the site. Not long ago, as you approached the village, you would be welcomed by friendly farmers and laughing children, but now magnificent eight stories tall mountains of garbage guard the entrance. For the past 25 years over six thousand tons of garbage from Jakarta have been piled up on top of what used to be paddy fields.

This massive pile of garbage feeds cockroaches, rats, birds, goats and over two thousand families. Women and men of all ages shift to Bantar Gebang from all over Indonesia in search of a job and keep the mountains alive every hour of every day. They scavenge recyclables, build their homes & at times pick a snack or a gift from the pile.

Despite the unimaginable living conditions, the residents of Bantar Gebang embrace their environment. To them what rapidly developing Jakarta creates as an urban waste is a playground, a school, a mosque and most importantly a home.

 

1000s of scavengers patiently roam around these hilltops every day1000s of scavengers patiently roam around these hilltops every day | S01402 | buy

 

Over 6,000 tones of garbage are delivered here every dayOver 6,000 tones of garbage are delivered here every day | S01403 | buy

 

These hilltops are filled with enough methane gas to operate a power plantThese hilltops are filled with enough methane gas to operate a power plant | S01404 | buy

 

Operating bulldozers load and rearrange the landfill while being surrounded by scavengersOperating bulldozers load and rearrange the landfill while being surrounded by scavengers | S01405 | buy

 

Lucky strikeLucky strike | S01406 | buy

 

Kids playing between the bulldozersKids playing between the bulldozers | S01407 | buy

 

Despite the unimaginable living conditions, the residents embrace their environmentDespite the unimaginable living conditions, the residents embrace their environment | S01408 | buy

 

The new arrivals usually take a few weeks to adjust to the harsh environmentThe new arrivals usually take a few weeks to adjust to the harsh environment | S01409 | buy

 

The residents use their backyard to store what they have collected before selling it offThe residents use their backyard to store what they have collected before selling it off | S01410 | buy

 

A makeshift tent is filled as the Aid'al Fitri prayer takes placeA makeshift tent is filled as the Aid’al Fitri prayer takes place | S01411 | buy

 

Kids keeping themselves entertained next to the landfillsKids keeping themselves entertained next to the landfills | S01412 | buy

 

Umi, the self claimed "queen of the garbage land" has lived and worked here since 1989Umi, the self claimed “queen of the garbage land” has lived and worked here since 1989 | S01413 | buy

 

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