Leonardo Crisostomo, also known as Andong, is a 43 year old waste picker resident of Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Philippines. Andong followed the steps of his father and became a garbage collector when he was 12.
Waste pickers are the ones who live on our garbage – what is invisible to us, is valuable to them. Waste pickers do more than just pick waste, they are usually the unlikely vanguards of our environment, preventing plastic waste from reaching our water bodies. But while the corporations who sent us these single-use plastics are living off their huge profits, waste-pickers are not recognized by the government. They have no social security, no benefits, no days off.
Andong, as well many of his colleagues, wishes the government would give them recognized jobs in the garbage collection sector. His dream is to have a secure job so he would be able to support the education of his children.
© Greenpeace, 2017