/ 2020 / Portraiture /

The Scavengers of Indonesia

  • Prize
    Gold in Portraiture/Culture, 2nd Place winner in Portraiture
  • Photographer
    Tom Barnes
  • Credit
    Tom Barnes

The sun beats down, there is no shade and the smell is unbearable. Another day on Indonesias uncovered landfills.

Bantar Gebang is South East Asia’s largest open surface landfill. The pit at Bantar Gebang contains an estimated 39,000,000 tonnes of rubbish. Scavengers scrape the freshly dumped loads in an attempt to collect plastic or uncover valuables and are paid 6000Rupiah/kg which equates to 40p a kilo. People move from all over central Java to work In Bantar Gebang, where they are known as Pemulung (Scavenger). Many Pemulung live in small houses out of wood reclaimed from the dump.