If you”ve ever passed by a dump or landfill in the heat, you know it”s considerably less than pleasant. You probably got away from it–or at least upwind–as fast as possible. If imagining even passing by a dump in the heat is unpleasant for you, imagine living in it.
That was actually a reality in Cambodia up until a few years ago. There was a huge garbage dump where people lived, day in and day out, on top of trash.
People were born and raised there. They lived, worked, and played on garbage. The kids even went to school here–and most of them went barefoot. The place was known alternately as Rubbish Mountain and Smelly Mountain, and it was home to some 500 people as of 2009.
And this was only one of many dumps like it.
Homes like this were built using whatever was available, including blankets, tarps, and boards.
(via Oddity Central, WorldRacer)
As shocking as it might seem to us, this wasn”t even considered a terrible life by the people who lived it. They had homes, and they were paid for sorting through the trash. Some of the trash would be burned in huge, open-air fires, and some would be salvaged.
The people living and working here didn”t have much, but they made do with what they had.
There”s nothing but trash and smoke for as far as the eye can see, but these kids called it home. Many of them were raised here. They played, made friends, and went to school, all amid heaps of trash.
Besides living here, many of the children even attended schools in the landfill.
A sanitation truck dumps a new load of trash as residents gather around. They would pick through it for salvageable items and burn the rest. This was how they earned their meager living.
Heat and decomposing garbage mean lots of bugs, but the residents didn”t seem to mind.
In 2009, the Cambodian government closed down Rubbish Mountain and ousted the community living there. What happened to them? We”re not sure. We know that many were relocated, and that they would have had to look for other jobs, despite probably lacking training. Whatever their fates, we hope it was better than this!
This was not the only dump in Cambodia–or in the world–to be occupied by humans. Scenes like the ones you see here are still happening the world over. Hopefully, the people living these shocking lives can receive some assistance and build better lives for themselves and their children.