In the fringes of Metro Manila in the Philippines lies Smokey Mountain. It really is not a mountain but a big humungous garbage dump. Here, the trash of millions people are dumped everyday. With an anti-incenerator law in effect, and the lack of landfills, the garbage keeps piling up. Hence, the name, Smokey Mountain.
Less than a thousand families call this home. Waiting for the trucks to come in everyday with fresh garbage from the city, they rush to them armed with a poking stick and a plastic bag. The whole day, they are bent over searching the trash for plastics, metals, and other things that could be used or resold. The stench of the area is so strong that it is said that the smell can be detected a kilometer away.
There is also another area where garbage is being dumped in Manila; Payatas. Payatas is similar to Smokey Mountain. There are families living there despite the awful stench, who make a living off the place. Last year, that mountain of trash collapsed late in the night burying more than a hundred people. Most of the bodies where never recovered due to the amount of garbage and the rains that came during the rescue operation.
The garbage problem will not be solved overnight. There are no reassurances that the Payatas tragedy will not repeat again. There will still be families living there. And despite all of this, life will go on.