Makeshift 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 day | S01402 | buy
Over 6,000 tones of garbage are delivered here every day | S01403 | buy
These 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 scavengers | S01405 | buy
Lucky strike | S01406 | buy
Kids playing between the bulldozers | S01407 | buy
Despite the unimaginable living conditions, the residents embrace their environment | S01408 | buy
The 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 off | S01410 | buy
A makeshift tent is filled as the Aid’al Fitri prayer takes place | S01411 | buy
Kids keeping themselves entertained next to the landfills | S01412 | buy
Umi, the self claimed “queen of the garbage land” has lived and worked here since 1989 | S01413 | buy