Thirteen-year-old Ranniel quit school to help his family survive. He has been risking his life, diving into polluted waters to retrieve plastic waste for money, since he was eight years old.
“It is hard to be a kid here. Even if it’s dirty, you need to scavenge for waste to have money.”
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It’s estimated that Filipinos dispose of 163 million single-use sachets of household products a day, according to one study. These sachets are what families living in extreme poverty survive on, as buying items in larger quantities costs too much.
But it’s devastating the environment. This daily use is enough to cover the entire area of Metropolitan Manila, one-foot-deep in plastic waste.
Video by Howard Johnson and Virma Simonette.
It was first broadcast in November 2019.