Tibar Rubbish Dump

Timor-Leste (2018)

On the outskirts of Dili, near the village of Tibar, a smouldering rubbish dump is picked through daily by people living in extreme poverty. Dump trucks arrive throughout the morning, bringing waste from the nation’s capital. Timor-Leste is one of the poorest countries in the region, and as such, services such as waste management are underdeveloped. 

Once the waste is dumped, villagers from the neighbouring area – including elderly men and women, and children – rush to seek out the most valuable commodities. None of the rubbish is sorted, and instead is set on fire. Old gas cylinders and deodorant cans frequently explode; picking through the rubbish is a dangerous task. Fumes from burning rubber and plastics generate a toxic, acrid smoke which continues to be a health hazard.