On first arriving in Cambodia’s ever-expanding capital Phnom Penh, one is struck by the rubbish lying on the sides of the street; order noodle soup to go, and it comes in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon – in a plastic bag. In a country seemingly in love with plastic, the only people recycling waste are the echchay – collectors that pass by rubbish heaps to pick up items for recycling, including plastic, glass, metals and anything else salvageable.
Miguel Jeronimo, a Portuguese photographer based in Phnom Penh, finds himself drawn to photographing these people, and this attraction is the inspiration behind the new exhibition he is curating, titled Plastic Kingdom – different views on waste and ecology in Cambodia.
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