2013 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, Singles, 1st prize singles

At the Dandora Dump

Photographer

Micah Albert

Redux Images for Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

03 April, 2012

A woman sits on bags of waste she has salvaged, at the Dandora municipal dump, outside Nairobi, Kenya. She said that she enjoys looking at books, even industrial catalogues, as a break from picking up garbage.

About

Micah Albert

Micah Albert is a freelance documentary photographer represented by Redux Pictures photo agency. Based in northern California, he specializes in and is passionate about difficult...

Background story

Nairobi, Kenya

A woman sits on bags of waste she has salvaged, at the Dandora municipal dump, outside Nairobi, Kenya. She said that she enjoys looking at books, even industrial catalogues, as a break from picking up garbage.

The dumpsite, some 8 km from the center of the Kenyan capital, is one of the largest rubbish dumps in Africa. People living in the slum area around the site have been found to suffer from increased levels of lead in their blood, as well as above normal incidence of kidney disease and cancer. Gases rising from decomposing waste lead to high rates of respiratory disease.

Despite the health risks, between 6,000 and 10,000 people earn a living from the dumpsite, seeking food waste, scavenging goods for resale, or separating materials for recycling. Informal cartels run the recycling operation, paying pickers around €2 a day. 

Opened in 1975, the dump should—under international environmental laws—have been closed after 15 years. It remains in use, despite being declared full in 2001.

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/100 sec
Focal length
35 mm
F-Stop
13
ISO
400
Camera
Nikon D3

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