Seeing the Unseen: Meet some of the people and places you might not know about during my travels in Mindanao, The Philippines
The Philippines has a high unemployment level, and only a minimum social service to help. Finances are rarely included. If you don’t earn, you starve. Simple as that.
In a lot of countries I have traveled there is a serious garbage and litter problem. It covers the streets. While the Philippines may not be the cleanest of clean places, they do recycle just about everything.
In a lot of places people must pay to have their garbage recycled, in the Philippines people will pay you for your garbage. Especially plastics and metal. This equals tin cans, soda bottles, even bottle caps. They are all weighed in front of you, and money given back.
Junk shops make money selling this collected “garbage” back to Merchants who ship it on to recycling plants around the world. It’s quite the billion dollar industry. And, it starts with a little man on a tricycle.
Jose earns a paltry 1 peso (2 cents USD) per kilo of metal he brings in. He buys metal for 50 centavos (1 cent USD). It can be any type of metal. Pipes, nails, bottle tops, shavings. Even rust. It’s just not metal he’ll except either. Glass or plastic bottles, bags, paper, cardboard you name it, he’ll try to buy it from you.
Jose is one of thousands of independent garbage collectors in the Philippines. He does it as a means of survival, a job. What I found fascinating here was the scale on which he worked.
Coming soon on Seeing the Unseen: The coconut collectors
This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting the island of Mindanao & the people living in The Philippines