Philippine trash trawlers notice a surge in plastics, triggered by the virus
MANILA (PHILIPPINES) – Virgilio Estuesta, who has been a trash trawler in Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, has come across unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
The 60-year-old has been experiencing a tough time, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been shut down since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, make up the most in his cart, far more than metals and cardboard.
He said, “It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high.”
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
According to environmentalists, the Philippines goes through one of the world’s biggest problems out of single-use plastics. It figures among those who contribute the mos to plastic pollution of the oceans.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in an attempt to evade virus infections.
She added, “The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution. Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon, said, “When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.