20170809

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Twelve miles from Jakarta lies Bantar Gebang – the largest open landfill site in south-east Asia
It receives 9,000 tones of rubbish a day and its residents hunt around in the grime to find things to sell
Their lives have been documented in a series of shocking images by French photographer Alexandre Sattler
  By Ted Thornhill for MailOnline
About 12 miles from Jakarta on the island of Java in Indonesia lies Bantar Gebang – the largest open landfill site in south-east Asia.
And home to around 3,000 families. Some of the children that call this frightful place home were even born there.
Their lives have been documented in a series of shocking images by 36-year-old photographer Alexandre Sattler from Colmar, France. He visited the dump – which receives 9,000 tonnes of rubbish a day - because he was interested in discovering more about Indonesia’s waste problem.
About 12 miles from Jakarta on the island of Java in Indonesia lies Bantar Gebang – the largest open landfill site in south-east Asia. And home to around 3,000 families
 Shocking: Some of the children that call this frightful place home were even born there
 Shocking: Some of the children that call this frightful place home were even born there
Their heart-breaking lives have been documented by 36-year-old French photographer Alexandre Sattler
Their heart-breaking lives have been documented by 36-year-old French photographer Alexandre SattlerSattler discovered that families there use the landfill as a way of making a living, foraging in the grime for items they can re-sell. They live under make-shift sheltersSattler discovered that families there use the landfill as a way of making a living, foraging in the grime for items they can re-sell. They live under make-shift shelters
Sattler said that the living conditions were terrible and that the families lived 'in a world of filth'
 Sattler said that the living conditions were terrible and that the families lived 'in a world of filth'
What he found profoundly shocked him.
He discovered that families there use the landfill as a way of making a living, foraging in the grime for items they can re-sell.
Sattler called it ‘a world of filth’.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘When I arrived in Bantar Gebang I saw many families living there. The most shocking thing is that what some consider a waste, becomes a resource for others. The scale of inequality is striking and shocking. Fruit and vegetables thrown away by some, become a source of food for others. 
‘The living conditions are terrible: smells, bacteria, insalubrity… families and their children live there in shelters without access to medical care and drinking water.
The adults at the landfill, Sattler told MailOnline Travel, seemed resigned to their fate
The adults at the landfill, Sattler told MailOnline Travel, seemed resigned to their fate
The site is infested with flies, which continually buzz around the humans that scavenge for items to sell

The site is infested with flies, which continually buzz around the humans that scavenge for items to sell
‘Children were living in the middle of rubbish, playing in garbage.’
Some, he said, walked around in bare feet. Injuries are not uncommon as the ground is littered with sharp objects.
‘Parents showed me their son’s open foot wound – I felt helpless,’ he said.
Amazingly, he said, some of the children seemed happy and carefree – but he suspects only because they have no points of reference for how their lives could be better.
He said: ‘The children have taught me that even in the worst situations, joy exists. I saw children playing, cheerful and happy to share time with me, to show me their shelter, toys and introduce me to their parents.
‘Not being able to compare themselves with children living beyond those mountains of waste, they seem fine.’
This man has shoes, but many on the landfill walk around in the grime barefooted
 This man has shoes, but many on the landfill walk around in the grime barefooted
The site receives around 9,000 tonnes of rubbish every day. The huge trucks that bring it in are dwarfed by the mountains of waste once they arrive
 The site receives around 9,000 tonnes of rubbish every day. The huge trucks that bring it in are dwarfed by the mountains of waste once they arrive
Residents of the landfill collect food that has been discarded by those living in Jakarta
 Residents of the landfill collect food that has been discarded by those living in Jakarta
The adults, however, weren’t so buoyant.
Sattler said: 'The adults seemed to be more resigned and show little emotion. They seem to adapt to their situation but without really accepting it. I was touched by their friendliness and their welcoming attitude.’
One former resident of the landfill, Resa Boenard, is doing her best to improve conditions there.
She was one of the lucky ones - able to attend a secondary school outside the landfill.
But she's returned to teach the people of Bantar Gebang how to climb their way out of poverty.
Amazingly, many of the children at the landfill are happy and carefree. But Sattler believes that this is because they have no point of reference for how their lives could be better
11-(toys)Amazingly, many of the children at the landfill are happy and carefree. But Sattler believes that this is because they have no point of reference for how their lives could be better
One former resident of the landfill, Resa Boenard (not pictured), is doing her best to improve conditions there. She was one of the lucky ones - able to attend a secondary school outside the landfill. But she's returned to teach the people of Bantar Gebang how to climb their way out of poverty
One former resident of the landfill, Resa Boenard (not pictured), is doing her best to improve conditions there. She was one of the lucky ones - able to attend a secondary school outside the landfill. But she's returned to teach the people of Bantar Gebang how to climb their way out of poverty
Along with British friend John Devlin she set-up an organization called BGBJ, which stands for 'the seeds of Bantar Gebang'.
It has opened a hostel and community hub on the landfill, where the educational efforts are focused. It believes that the children, or 'seeds', can be nurtured and taught to flourish in the outside world.
Sattler says that everyone can help, though. 
He said: ‘The problem is global, and waste is everywhere. One solution would be to rethink our lifestyles and consumption, to find a way to reduce our waste by producing less wealth. In order to help families living in Bantar Gebang, contact local associations that help families directly by improving their living conditions (water, hygiene, food), and by allowing children to go to school.’ 
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