03 February 2013

Apocalypse now!

A couple of days ago I visited Siem Reap’s rubbish dump, not somewhere most traveller’s go … nor would they want to. It’s like a scene from hell: hot, from the sun and the constantly burning fires, and smelly, from decomposition.

Sadly, this disgusting place is home to several families who earn their living from scavenging amongst the rubbish, for plastic bags and bottles and aluminium cans that can be recycled. Revolting as this may sound, they also find the occasional food scraps that can be boiled up for dinner.

I’ll let my photos show you what I saw, and my next blog will tell how there’s now a glimmer of hope for these poverty-stricken people.

Beyond this beautiful field of water hyacinths, you can see the smouldering dump
The heat from both the sun and the constantly burning fires was stifling
Our group treads a careful path through the rubbish, and some local kids tag along
Home sweet home?
Plastic bags ready for collection by the recyclers
The boys found a glossy magazine and stopped to read amongst the fiflth
A child of one of the dump families ... they follow their parents on to the dump itself

This family doesn't even have a hut ... they just live under this tree
She protects herself as much as possible from the filth and toxic fumes
Can you imagine being a child in this place?