Planet or Plastic | National Geographic Magazine: Our Plastic Trash Goes SOMEWHERE

Ten Hectare beach at the north tip of Baseco slum area is covered with trash including used toothpaste tubes from the Pasig River and other sources. Trash is visible on all edges of Manila Bay but this area is particularly impacted. A stream that comes out of a fish hatchery is filtered, but then it flows back out into Manila Bay. The bay has very little visibility–somewhat the consistency of motor oil.  A lingering memory from this trip will be that all our garbage goes SOMEWHERE and in the Philippines it goes to the most marginalized areas to be sorted, de-labelled and piled up. In this culture plastic is money, and artisanal industries are located around the dumps and tourist areas where plastic trash comes out of casinos and hotels. Children push aside used toilet paper to find bits of plastic that net 5 pesos a kilo. Junk shops take it to plastic processors for around 22 pesos a kilo. It takes about 16 one liter Coke bottles to weigh one kilogram. The Philippines is the third largest contributor to ocean plastics with 500,000 tons a year.